SIMI VALLEY : Schools Seek Tighter Film, Video Policy

Simi Valley Unified School District board members have moved to revise district policy to require teachers to "justify" the use of films and videos in the classroom.

Complaints from some parents about the content of some films led the board to consider tightening its policy, said Helen Beebe, board president.

"We're trying to be sure that the materials we're using in the classroom are appropriate, and this is the way to do it," Beebe said.

The discussion, at a meeting last week, focused on proposals to change the policy that requires a list of films approved for classroom showing to be maintained.

Historically, teachers have been allowed some latitude in choosing films, which has led to what Beebe called "a good percentage" of complaints. Complaints have focused primarily on obscene language, Beebe said.

Board members discussed tightening policy to make teachers more accountable for the films they show. Under the proposed policy, teachers would be responsible for choosing films and justifying their choices.

Royal High School English and film teacher Jim Hitt called the district proposal "unwieldy." District Supt. John Duncan said the policy would give the district a bit more control.

"There is certainly no attempt to restrict the use of materials, except the use of inappropriate materials," Duncan said. "I think it would be extremely difficult for a large district like this to say, 'Do what you want.' "

Beebe said the board will consider the proposal within a month.

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