Saturday, November 19, 2005

R-rated Movie Costs Teacher His Job

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — Ed Youngblood said he never considered the rating of the movie "Elizabeth" when he showed it to his English literature class. "I didn't think about it being R-rated," he said. "It's such a good movie."

That decision has cost the popular South Gwinnett High School teacher his job. Youngblood, 62, said he resigned Wednesday after being given the choice of stepping down or being fired by Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The resignation has upset many current and former students at South Gwinnett. "I understand that Mr. Youngblood broke a rule and you have to be punished, but I wouldn't expect him to be forced out for this," said Marcus Spencer, a former student who now attends Georgia State University.

Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said she does not know if Youngblood was given that ultimatum. She said that Youngblood chose to resign after being told that an investigation had begun. "It was clear that he did not follow the process," Roach said.

Youngblood taught for 37 years before retiring at the end of the 2004-2005 school year. He continued working this year on a part-time basis, teaching British literature and Advanced Placement English. He is known as a demanding but popular teacher. "If anybody were to give him substandard work, he'd let you know all about it," said South Gwinnett alumnus Jonathan Townley, a junior at Georgia Tech. "He expected better things from us."

Youngblood showed the movie as the class was beginning study of the Elizabethan period. Released in 1998, the movie is a portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R rating for violence and sexuality. Youngblood said he had shown it once before with no complaints.

Gwinnett teachers are required to submit unapproved teaching materials to a board of students, teachers and parents for review. The board can approve or deny the usage of the material, or mandate that the teachers first gain parental permission. Youngblood showed the movie without going through any of those steps, Roach said. "Teachers know it's there and know if they want to bring in something that is not a part of approved instructional material, then this is how they need to go about doing it," Roach said.

Roach said that after the movie was shown two weeks ago, the school and the county office received complaints. That prompted an investigation.

At a meeting with a county school official last Wednesday, Youngblood said he was prepared to apologize in writing to parents and teachers. But Youngblood said he was told he had a choice between resigning or being fired and he had five minutes to make his decision. "I couldn't believe it," Youngblood said, who added that he chose to resign to not jeopardize other opportunities.

Spencer said he and others are considering some form of protest in hopes of restoring their former teacher.

It is at least the second instance of a teacher resigning after showing an R-rated movie at the school. In 2002, two special-education teachers were forced to resign after showing the 1981 comedy "History of the World Part I."



Geeeeeeeeeee-zus. My friend Nathan sent me this article with the subject head "People suck." Indeed they do. I can't tell you how angry this makes me. Yeah, sure rules are made to be followed, etc. etc., but this is beyond ludicrous. In this day and age how many fuckin' teachers out there have stayed with their job for 37 years? The man obviously takes pride in his job, so what, we toss him out on his ass for showing a 'R'-rated movie to his high school English Lit. class? Gimme a fuckin' break! With more than half of 15- to 19-year-olds already sexually active, something as nominal as culture is going to send them reeling towards the fire and brimstone? Puhlease!

I remember when I was in high school, our French teacher showed us 2 'PG'-rated French films, Jean de Florette and it's sequel Manon des sources (Manon of the Spring). Manon had an oh-so-brief scene where you saw the nude backside of the lead character bathing in a waterfall. Pfft. Big deal! She (the teacher) even "warned" us ahead of time, just in case anyone with sensitive capabilities needed to be elsewhere during its showing. We were all mature enough to handle it. Afterwards, none of us were in need of extensive therapy nor was our teacher subjected to hours of mandatory "sensitivty training."

And that's what pisses me off the most, I think. The retarded parents who pitched a fit over this. I could understand the lone student (there's always one...more today, I'm sure) who lives in a fuckin' vacuum and craves attention. We had those in our school "back in the day" as well. You know the types: The kids (usually girls) who get the vapors in Biology class during the reproduction lecture, complete with visuals of the uterus (gasp!) and the penis (huh?). The ones who think masturbation is "gross" and don't do that. One of ours was named Andrea. The mere reference to masturbation sent her reeling into a symphony of "ews" and "that's disgusting." She claimed she never masturbated. Yeah, right, Andrea. Now she has multiple children. She must be the proud owner of Magic Vag™, from the makers of "Intelligent" Design™.

My point is that parents and their biproducts are too goddamn sensitive. Now I know what generations before me meant when they say they miss "the good ol' days." I miss them too. Back when people had bigger things to worry about than catching a glimpse of boob at the Super Bowl and/or whether or not their children get taught some fairy tale concept of evolution. Bring on the unicorns and rainbows!

I know I have a handful of educators who read my blog on occasion. I'd be interested in what they have to say about Gen whY (AKA Echo Boom/Byte Block/Internet Generation/South Park Generation/Babies On Board/Millennial Generation)/Gen Z. I know the consensus among my friends and I are that one thing is for certain: Neither can spell for shit.

- Part 2 of my rant about 'The Pussy Generation' coming on Monday.

7 Comments:

Blogger Stephaine said...

It is a sad state of affairs when a good teacher is let go over something like this when our kids are falling behind other nations. Frankly if you could teach my kid how to get a perfect score on the SAT's with porn, I wouldn't complain. I need him to be an intelligent self-sufficient, productive member of society so he can get the heck out of my house.

Looking forward to part two on Monday.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Stephaine said...

One more thing, I'm linking you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Dennis! said...

That is Just. So. Wrong.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 5:22:00 PM  
Anonymous kris said...

It usually is the good teachers that step outside of the box and do things a little differently that foster this crazy little thing called learning.

That school system should be ashamed of itself. I hope they're happy "educating" a bunch of future pussies.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 8:16:00 PM  
Blogger girlzoot said...

Two things bother me about this, one, usually the school system (or at least it did when I used to do teaching) has a permission thing in place for when you want to show a movie that is rated above G so parents sign off on you showing a film to their kids. I personally think all schools should institute this to basically cya every teacher. There are films/lit subjects that are always going to tweak people and good teachers shouldn't be lost due to prissy prudes. Administrations should protect their teachers, not toss them to the wolves.

The second thing that bothers me is totally unrelated to teaching, but has to do with people that are vigilant and trying to protect my son without my permission. My son is 14, and can't see 'R' movies without me, but when I am there, he can see them. That is the way the guidelines go, but twice now, twice the local theater (specifically one woman) has tried to refuse to sell tickets to my son and I to 'R' films because he isn't old enough. Most recently she tried to convince me not to take my son to see Jarhead because it mentioned masturbation...not the graphic war scenes, no no, the masturbation wasn't appropriate.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Monday, November 21, 2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Stephaine-
True true! It is sad that every aspect of our lives have turned into a big politically-correct rally. Like anything, if you look hard enough you can find something wrong with just about everything, and apparently that seems to be the goal of most parents today. To monitor every miniscule thing that their children have access to, whether it be movies, books, food, video games, television, music..and the list goes on. It's sad, really. And then these are the same parents who are mystified as to why their kid goes apeshit the first time he/she is left alone (or goes off to college). Coddling has hit an all-time high, and trust me, it's doing more harm than good...but then some people have to find out the hard way.

Thanks for taking the time to comment! And thanks for linking me! (I reciprocated) I appreciate it! :)

Dennis!-
It's truly sad, isn't it? And for once, I'm not being catty. I truly find it very disheartening. To think, I once thought I wanted to be a teacher. *sigh*

Girlzoot-
Actually, I think maybe that was the procedure (permission slips), but he didn't go through all the red tape. Still, I think it's beyond retarded that it was taken to this extreme.

I remember when I was in 3rd grade and it came time to make construction paper jack o'lanterns (turkeys, Santas, Easter eggs, etc.), the various religious zealots kids couldn't participate, so they had to sit in the hall or (eventually) they had to be given an alternative project. You know how fucked up that is? Especially when you're a little kid and you're the odd man out? Those parents suck for stealing their children's childhood, instead opting to ostracize their child from all their peers in order to control every tiny aspect of their child's life. Trust me, the kid's not as obsessed with religion as the parents are. All he/she knows is that they're "different" and that just sets the stage for future issues. Now we've gotten to the point where schools are being taken to task over people's personal beliefs. For example Letter Demands Equal Treatment for Muslim Prayer in TX Schools. Oy vey!

Sure, if you wanna say grace before you eat lunch in the school cafeteria, fine. If you want to say a prayer during school hours, that's cool too. Just don't cry foul when you draw attention to yourself and/or not everyone else wants to participate. Religion is and should remain a personal thing.

I know you're thinking "God, did he get off track or what?," but here's my point. Trust me when I say, you know the people/parents who complained about this 'R' rated film are not some random people off the street. You can bet your bottom dollar that they are religious fanatics. Who else is going to be so separated from reality to think that their high school-aged kid hasn't already been exposed to sexuality or bad language at that age? C'mon! That's completely unrealistic. And that's just the two topics dealt with in the film. I haven't even touched on drugs or alcohol. Parents need to get their collective heads out of their ass and stop raising their kids in some kind of nirvana-like vacuum.

And as for that bullshit at the theater, since it's happened on more than one occasion, I'd ask to speak to the manager. If they don't do something to remedy the situation (either talk to the employee about it or give you some kind of free passes/concession, etc.), at the time you talk to them, I'd ask for the corporate office's number (that always scares the shit outta them). If they don't know where it is, tell them "I'll wait while you find it." My point: Don't tolerate that bullshit. You're not paying good money for some asshole who's dubbed themself the moral police to give you unsolicited movie reviews. And they next time they do, say: "Yeah, thanks Siskel. How about that ticket, or do I need to talk to the manager...again?" If it keeps happening, go somewhere else or e-mail the local paper (editorials) about it. And let the manager know you'll be contacting the local news/newspaper. Negative publicity scares the shit out of corporate America.

I've been in similar situations and these tactics work. You may not always get what you wanted, but it sure feels good to light a fire under some corporate lackey's ass.

What's wrong with people is that too many of them have been allowed to get away with this stupid shit for waaaay too long.

Thanks for commenting! :) Can you tell you got my attention? LOL....I get worked up over this shit! ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 9:57:00 PM  
Blogger girlzoot said...

If permission slips were signed and they still fired him I would be furious as a teacher, and as a parent.

One of the big problems I ahve is that no one considers the fact that the administration is responsible for protecting their teachers, and fellow parents are responsible for standing up against this BS.

People that are zealots (that you were speaking of) have a right to public education, but there are so many options for religious based choice schools that have public funding, especially now under Bush, that people need to consider options instead of firing perfectly good teachers. Bleah and they wonder why I got out of my work....

As for the local theater, the first time it happened I made her call the manager, and he profusely apologized and explained to the woman that as long as I was with my son I could take him to an 'R' film, but not 'NC-17'.

This second time I was furious, the first time I was willing to let slide as an idiot new person moment. I demanded the manager again and when she called him down I went over the fact that this was twice.

We didn't get free movie tickets, but we did get snacks. The things is it is the same woman, I just don't get why she would be selling tickets if she is so against these freaking movies. If she is there again the next time I take my son to see anything and fucks with me we will be getting in for free.

I totally get you being frothy about this kind of stuff, the whole violation of rights is frustrating, and a lot of times I just want to scream at everyone that even messes with me. Especially about the way people educate my son, or about how I spend my leisure time with him.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 10:35:00 PM  

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