Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Whose children are they?

Those of you in Nashville need to make a phone call or e-mail your council reps and the at-large reps about a resolution that is on the agenda for tonight's council meeting. In fact, go ahead and contact Superintendent Pedro Garcia while you're at it to let him know how you feel about the issue. Resolution RS2005-1017 (and below) encouraging MNPS to make materials available to parents before the lesson is presented to the children. It is NOT about the content of one video. It is about who gets to decide what information is appropriate for children.

I've always believed that it was the job of parents to know their own children and decide when is the right time to broach sensitive topics. With four of my own children I've realized that each of them had different maturity levels. Each of them had different interest levels about the subject. Each of them had different points at which it became 'too much information'. How anyone could make a blanket assessment that encompasses dozens of children is beyond my understanding. And I further believe that much of this sort of information is beyond the core mission of our public schools anyway and so all the more reason that the parents must be involved and consulted. Parents cannot make these decisions without information and first hand information is vital. Surely we can all agree on that, can't we? So make your voice heard. I support Councilman Gilmore's effort and hope that you can do the same.

Here is the phone number for the council office where you can leave a message: 862-6780 and here is the fax number: 862-6784. Unless you know your rep to be responsive to e-mail I'd phone.

I'll go a step further and say that these sorts of lessons should not be opt-out they ouoght to be expressly opt-in.


A resolution requesting the Metropolitan Board of Public Education to notify and afford parents an opportunity to screen videos and films before they are shown to students.

WHEREAS, films and videos are an effective supplemental education tool often used by teachers in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, although videos can be an effective learning tool, sometimes the subject matter of the video may be deemed by some parents to be inappropriate for viewing by their children; and

WHEREAS, T.C.A. §49-6-1303 expressly provides that a student may be excused from family life instruction if the school is notified by the parents that they find the instructional material objectionable; and

WHEREAS, Members of Council have received complaints from a number of parents regarding the subject matter of a video entitled "A Place at the Table", which was shown to students without advance notification to parents; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that parents be afforded an opportunity to view videos and films to be shown in the classroom in advance so that they can prevent their children from viewing any film they deem objectionable or inappropriate.


Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as requesting the Metropolitan Board of Public Education to notify and afford parents an opportunity to screen videos and films before they are shown to students.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to Director of Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia, and to each member of the Metropolitan Board of Public Education.

Section 3. That this resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Carolyn Baldwin Tucker

[Thanks to Bobbie Patray.]

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