School Screening Of ‘Passion’ Film Sparks Complaint

After receiving a complaint from a parent and a local civil rights advocacy\n group, a Florida public school has reprimanded a substitute teacher for showing\n Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” to ninth graders.

A substitute teacher at a Hernando County school for students who are considered\n disruptive or at risk showed the R-rated movie to the ninth-grade class in\n late October. According to the St. Petersburg Times, one of the 14\n students brought a videotape of the controversial movie to class and convinced\n the substitute teacher to show it.

A mother of one of the student’s learned of the situation and reported\n it to a Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and complained\n to the school’s principal. According to the news report, the parent also\n said that after the film’s showing, the substitute teacher described\n the movie as being based on the truth.

Principal John Shepherd told the St. Petersburg Times that he would\n issue a letter of reprimand to the substitute teacher, only because R-rated\n movies are prohibited from being shown in the classrooms. He denied that the\n film was used to promote religion.

“These are chronically disruptive kids, and maybe it’s good for\n them” Shepherd said.

The ACLU attorney, however, told the newspaper that public school teachers\n should not use material, such as Gibson’s movie, to promote religion.