Video on molestation, shown to Manchester 3rd graders, upsets parents
The parents, who spoke out at a Board of School Committee meeting on Monday, say their third-grade children were deeply upset by the video, which depicted an inappropriate interaction between a boy and his uncle.
Victoria Sullivan, mother of a student at Highland Goffe's Falls Elementary School and the head of its parents' and teachers' group, said she knew something was wrong when she heard about the video and asked her son if he had seen it.
Another, Jennifer Brown, said parents should have been informed that such a video was going to be shown. "I can decide whether or not this material is appropriate for my child based on their maturity," she said at the meeting. "Every parent should be allowed to make these choices for their child. That is responsible parenting."
Sullivan, however, said in an interview that the video actually showed the boy confronting his uncle about committing the act in the past. She viewed the video after approaching the principal of Highland Goffe's Falls.
The district adopted a policy in 2012 allowing parents to substitute materials of their choosing for ones they deem objectionable. The change was made in response to a law enacted by the Legislature in 2011. The policy, however, assumes that parents are aware of or have already been notified of the materials.
Superintendent Debra Livingston said this was part of the review she and her staff were undertaking. But she said her understanding was the district's policy was to inform parents.
The superintendent said the video was part of the Michigan Model for Health curriculum and has been shown "for a while now."
"I've not seen it," he said of the video. "But I hear what the parents are saying, and I certainly can appreciate if they don't want their children to see it. And there should at least be proper notification sent home."
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