Teacher Gets Reprimand for Showing Horror Film

Times Staff Writer

A Canoga Park teacher has been reprimanded and ordered to call several parents to apologize for showing the horror film “Nightmare on Elm Street” to her second-grade class, the school’s principal said Friday.

Parents of some of the students said their children had nightmares and became withdrawn after seeing the R-rated “slasher” movie about a deformed man who randomly attacks youngsters. One mother said her daughter has refused to take a bath by herself because of a scene that graphically depicts the murder of a teen-ager in a bathtub.

James Grover, principal of the Hamlin Street Elementary School, said he received several telephoned complaints from parents and called the teacher to his office to explain why she had shown the movie to her class. The teacher said the incident occurred two weeks ago when a student brought a videotape of the movie from home, Grover said.


The teacher, Marjorie Eisenberg, a 20-year veteran of the school system, did not watch the movie with the students, Grover said. Instead, she allowed students to watch the 96-minute film alone while she moved boxes of materials to a new classroom, he said.

Eisenberg was on sick leave for most of this week and could not be reached for comment.

“This was a gross error in the teacher’s judgment,” Grover said. “The parents have every right to be upset. I would be upset if this movie was shown to my children.”

Grover said there are no plans to punish Eisenberg by formal administrative action, which could include suspension without pay or a letter of reprimand. The principal said he decided against taking further action because Eisenberg was extremely remorseful when he told her of the movie’s content.

The movie shows the rampages of Freddy, a hideous creature with clumps of burned flesh hanging from his body. He carries a long metal-fingernail apparatus that he scrapes across walls before plunging it into his victims.

A Los Angeles Times critic called the 1986 movie “perhaps the scariest picture of its type in years.”