Late last spring, Jane Kazor was appalled when her sophomore daughter Chelsea was shown the movies "Chicago" and "Little Miss Sunshine" in her choir class, without any advance warning to parents. Thus, Chelsea was subjected to "Chicago" - the story of two cabaret dancers that depicts sexual encounters, several scenes with partially nude female performers, as well as alcohol use and profanity - as well as "Little Miss Sunshine," which contains more than thirty f-words, depicts a police officer being bribed with pornography, and casts as a main character a grandfather who snorts heroin, badgers his teenage grandson to have more sex and teaches his 7-year-old granddaughter a striptease routine for a beauty pageant.
Initially, complaint letters to school officials were ignored. After several attorneys refused to help her - one calling her a "prude" - PJI attorney Karen Milam got involved and helped Kazor approach the school board to demand accountability. Late last week, the school board voted 4-0 in favor of a policy that would prohibit the showing of R-rated films in their entirety and would require schools to notify parents and obtain their permission before showing clips from R-rated films. The policy will require a second reading before being formally adopted. Meanwhile, since Ms. Kazor's efforts have been publicized, other parents have been largely supportive of her efforts, but she has also received chilling death threats.
PJI Attorney Karen Milam commented, "We applaud this parent for her persistence on what should be a common-sense issue. Local theaters routinely prohibit fifteen year olds from watching R rated movies without parental consent, so why should public high schools act less responsibly than the motion picture industry? We urge parents to check their school districts' film policies. Where such policies are inadequate or nonexistent, PJI can provide model policies to ensure that schools remain safe learning environments for all students."
PJI president Brad Dacus stated, "A school's obligation to act in loco parentis - on behalf of parents - is a solemn duty, not a license to subject students to profanity and sex via movies with zero educational value. The garbage shown to these young people in class was a serious breach of parental trust."