Appropriate for class? Parents upset over movie shown to kids

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

***Wednesday morning, School District 51 clarified the film shown in the class was a PBS documentary on Frida Kahlo, not "Frida" as parents initially indicated to 11 News. The film is not rated (NR). The parents did acknowledge the name confusion and said the film they have problems with is in fact the PBS documentary. The district continues to look into whether the film is appropriate for students. The following story has been updated to reflect this change.***

FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO) - A teacher at Fruita 8/9 School is coming under fire after showing his Spanish class a movie about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Parents say the film contains highly sexual and political content that isn't appropriate for school and they want the District 51 School Board to do something about it.

During a board meeting Tuesday night, they asked board members to permanently ban the film from all District 51 schools and look into taking disciplinary actions against the teacher who showed it. Though board policy does not allow board members to respond directly to complaints during meetings, district officials say it's an issue they'll be looking into.

Parent Jeff Leany says when he learned some students had complained about the film, he watched it himself -- and couldn't believe it had been shown in class.

"It demoralizes and decays the values we try to teach in the home," said Leany. "And that shouldn't be done at school."

He says the film contains nude scenes and has lesbian and communist themes.

"There should have been some parental consent involved and there was none," said Leany.

Leany and other parents met with Fruita 8/9's principal, who he says ultimately decided to pull the film from the school's library. Now they want the same done in all District 51 schools.

"The curriculum is supposed to be Spanish and obviously this movie does not depict anything that has to do with Spanish," said Leany.

District leaders say they plan to investigate the complaint thoroughly.

"When those complaints are brought forward, we have a policy that guides us in terms of investigating what the issues are, understanding what the impacts are, looking at the material, and evaluating that in terms of appropriateness," said Jeff Kirtland, spokesperson for School District 51.

Officials say they have removed teaching materials in the past based on parent complaints.

"Depending on what we find in this, we may take that type of action," said Kirtland.

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  • by Crazy Location: GJ on Apr 20, 2011 at 02:26 PM
    Who complains about this kind of stuff? Besides the hag from Donny Darko. Seriously, since when was learning about other cultures a bad thing.
  • by I know Best on Apr 11, 2011 at 05:49 PM
    Give me your childern! Let me educate them! Let me feed them! Let me treach them my values! Don't question me. just give me the childern!!!! Oh, and by the way, you have to pay me to do this for you. Thank you. Come again.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:24 AM in reply to I know Best
      Oh and the pay and time disciplining you wonderful child is so worth it.
  • by Wendy Location: America on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:02 AM
    I agree diversity-in a nation that was built on different religions,races and lifestyles we need to safely educate our youth. They need to be taught the "Freedom of Diversity" and learn that other cultures and lifestyles exist from there own. It is scary to me that this situation has been blown to such proportion and how narrow minded people still think. This is the future?! WOW! Notaparentjustataxpayer had a point-a scary one- do we really need Snookie to make this right?! But you go Melissa keep your kids narrow and ignorant, maybe someone will decide your adopted children from other countries are offensive and inappropriate to live in the free country they where brought to.
  • by Freedom of Diversity Location: USA on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:31 AM
    Well Melissa I think you should move your family back to colorado city! The fact your son is so quick to tell you about f-bombs,drinking and lesbian couples seems to want to deflect attention from what he might be up to. You are so concerned about what he sees in the halls, one would think an educational video provided by the school library on another culture would be the least of your concerns. Maybe you should look at your own so called christian home and stop the judgement. I believe there is a saying "don't kill the messenger" your anger seems to be miss placed,if anything is in question it should be the material provided not the teacher that used it. Tell "little johnny" to grow up. You say you want your children to be well rounded well this is part of it.
  • by notaparentjustataxpayer Location: america on Apr 6, 2011 at 10:43 PM
    Is the dog wagging the tail here? Since when do kids get to complain about a school library documentary shown in class and their parents entitle them enough to get on the news? Who do they know that is so irresponsible to report such inaccurate information as news? Its a big world out there kids, different cultures, sexuality and race is what make it fascinating, and like it or not, this documentary proves that. Maybe Snookie can explain it so you can understand. This is history; which also mentions communism IN CLASS, should that be removed? Close minded, un-accepting parents make me concerned for the generation that will be running the country when I get old, go back to pooping my pants and need compassion the most.
  • by u will never know Location: denver co on Apr 6, 2011 at 10:08 PM
    I watched the evening news tonight and what worries me more that this is a discussion,is how will these children survive this world. I have 4 children which 2 are adopted. I want nothing more then them to be prepared for this crazy world, that includes them being diverse and excepting of every culture and race. How on earth will that happen with them not being able to watch something and discuss with an educated teacher as well as at home. To think this, what some are calling an issue, should make us look at this school dist is crazy. To the teacher, good for you for teaching these children outside the box, life IS outside the box and as a parent I appreciate the help from teachers like you, it takes a village.
  • by Karen Location: Fruita on Apr 5, 2011 at 12:54 PM
    I think the real question here is why it is wrong at all for someone to be a communist or a lesbian?! Are we not past that yet?! COME ON! Live at let live, people! There are larger problems in this world!
  • by Maggs Location: grand junction on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:03 PM
    Youtube! This Frito Lay chick; did she invent pork-rinds? Did the teacher warn the children about the lurking hot sauce? That would be an issue!
  • by uglyamerican Location: grand junction on Apr 1, 2011 at 08:53 PM
    I think all Morman parents should pull their children out of the class and send their kids to Holy Family. This is going to youtube. The complainer in this issue is an ignorant and rabid "man". I totally agree with Molly.
    • reply
      by Aunt Bea on Apr 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM in reply to uglyamerican
      What does Mormonism have to do with this article...I don't recall anything mentioned?? Maybe you should show Mr. Leany the same deference you would extend to the teacher? You really put the ugly in american. I had a similar experience with one of my children. I asked that he be allowed to read an alternative book than one that was assigned that I had issue with. The teacher and I were able to come to an agreement without involving the press (for crying out loud). The new assigned book was Fahrenheit 451 (a poke at me for censoring). At least the second book had redeeming value! Don't be naive, SOME teachers have agendas. AND some of those agendas serve our students very well.
  • by Marcie Location: Grand Junction on Mar 31, 2011 at 05:36 PM
    This is a perfect example of how a few overreactive parents can make a mountain out of a molehill. Public schools are a mess right now in large part to the lack of parenting going on at home. A teacher's role is to provide educational opportunities to students and to let students come to their own opinions and conclusions. An informative documentary is certainly not going to brainwash your children. Just because you don't agree with communism and the documentary references this political movement, does not make it malicious intent to teach your child to be a communist. This situation reminds me of all the District 51 parents who kept their children home from school on the days that speeches of President Obama's were shown. I am a conservative who never would have thought twice about voting for Obama, but do not understand how keeping your kid from watching his speeches does ANYTHING for their education or their ability to form educated opinions on such topics. It sounds like parents in Fruita are uneducated themselves.
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