I am absolutely LIVID. My 8th grade son just started Character Ed. It's a required 7 week class that rotates out to other required 7 week classes throughout the year.
Anyway. It's CHARACTER ed. That would lead you to believe they'll be taught how to build good character, be good citizens, people, etc. wouldn't it?
So, what does my son tell me this morning? In CHARACTER ed class they watch TV shows. Guess which ones??
Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory!
I'm sorry. But those are NOT appropriate shows to show in SCHOOL to 13 YEAR OLDS. They promote unhealthy views on sex and relationships, and they sure as hell DON'T inspire those watching to improve their character! At best they are a "what not to do" kind of lesson - but once they have seen/heard/been exposed to that SHIT, they can't un-see/un-hear it.
We restrict what our son is allowed to be exposed to. We're not stupid. We know he hears a lot of bad stuff at school, and we know he's going into high school. However, our son TALKS to us. When he hears inappropriate stuff at school he TELLS us about it and we talk through our viewpoints on it, clarify misunderstandings, etc.
Many 8th graders aren't innocent - which is sad - but OURS still has some innocence left. He's not at all interested in dating, and he actually skips through the "sex" parts of any shows we DO happen to let him watch (like The Office) because he says he doesn't need to see that.
We're TRYING to raise our son right - and then he's forced to watch shows of Charlie Sheen banging every slut he encounters?! Seriously?!
So, I called and left a scathing message on voice mail for the teacher. I demanded that my son be given an alternate activity and I demanded an explanation. We'll see if he responds.
I made a reply but also thought I'd update here:
Wow! I didn't expect so many responses!
First off - thank you so much to all of you who supported me. To those with differing viewpoints, thank you to *most* of you for being respectful in expressing your viewpoints.
Secondly, things are turning out well. I did talk with the teacher, who did not act as though I "overreacted" and even agreed with me that you can't "un-see" what you've seen. He wouldn't change his curriculum, however he did provide an alternate activity which teaches the same lesson for my son to research and do in the library during class time. Of course, this makes me wonder if THAT assignment (that my son is doing) is involving research, writing, etc. and still teaches the same lesson, WHY is it necessary for him to continue showing those shows to the rest of the class to teach the same lesson?? But, that's not my call. So be it.
For those who feel I "shelter" my kids or that my son isn't as innocent as I believe he is, all I can say is - you don't know me or my family.
My children have knowledge of the - as some of you put it the "realities" of life - at a level that is appropriate and explained to them by us...their parents. I simply don't believe that it does anyone any good to be bombarded by those "realities" in a filthy TV show during school. Additionally, shows like that don't show the other "realities" of life - such as waiting until marriage, monogamy, not needing to get drunk at parties, treating women with respect, etc. It's all very heavily one-sided on the depravity and unhealthy realities - with little to no mention that there is another - better - way to live your life.
We have very open communication with our children. They are comfortable coming to us about ANYTHING. And they DO come to us about everything. My 13 year old is uncomfortable with the huge amount of nasty cussing that goes on in the halls, and we talk about it and ways he can deal with it. I wanted to discuss oral sex with him because it's something that kids his age are doing, and while we DID discuss it appropriately, he made a comment that he wishes we didn't because now that is "stuck" in his head and he really doesn't want to think about it.
He's a good kid and he KNOWS what he is or isn't ready for. When he IS ready, I have every confidence that he will talk with me about it first. And believe it or not, it actually IS possible to raise kids with morals that they will actually adhere to as temptation strikes - just ask me, my husband, or ALL of my college friends - all of us resisted temptation and a lot of that had to do with our upbringing, the expectations set forth on us by family, church, etc., and simply choosing to not expose ourselves unnecessarily to situations that could end up badly.
If my sons ended up making the wrong choice - I KNOW they will come to me and we'll deal with it. Some of you obviously think it's naive to believe that - but again - you don't know my family and how open we are with each other.
My son asked to see the email I sent (following the voicemail as many teachers don't check their voicemail). It said pretty much everything I had said on the voicemail. After he read it, he said "OK. Sounds good". He wasn't "mortified" and he was happy to go do his work in the library that hour...oh and I asked if any kids asked why he wasn't watching, and no one did - no one even cared.
So, in the end all is well. My son and I have talked. I asked if he understood WHY I was against him watching and he said because it shows casual sex and bad relationships. He gets it. All is well.
So, the teacher called me back. He indicated that they are evaluating the influence of media (music, TV, print) on the character/behavior, etc. of those exposed to it.
He's doing a comparison of most popular shows of earlier decades (Leave it to Beaver, Cosby Show, etc.) and most popular shows of today (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang) then discussing whether the tendency in modern times to be soooo explicit in media negatively affects character.
I told him that is a GREAT topic. However, it is absolutely unnecessary to actually SHOW full episodes of those shows to the students in order to get that message across.
He disagreed, but did say that my son could do something else during class (only a couple more days of the TV portion) and complete the assignment at home with US having the discussion with him.
I'm OK with that I suppose. He also said he didn't send home parental consent because the shows are rated PG-13. I informed him that although it may be rated PG-13, much of the content is R rated and not acceptable in our house. He said he understood.
So, my kid no longer has to watch the shows - but of course now the kids will be asking why he's not watching. I was hoping the teacher simply wouldn't show them anymore at all - silly me.
But, I (and my son) would rather he deal with kids questioning him for a couple of days than get the images/experiences of those shows seared in his brain right now.
Oh my gosh! I am so sorry you have to deal with that! You're exactly right though - YOU should have some say (like, a LOT of say) in what your kids are exposed to. That should not be up to the schools to decide. And you can't un-see it or un-hear it. Doesn't work like that. OOOOOO that would make me mad too. It sounds like the teacher is accommodating you but not necessarily understanding.
by susan115February 7, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I, do believe that teacher is a "bad teacher". Although, unless you are willing to have your child treated with disrespect by other teachers, there is nothing you can do. Contact other parents first, see what they say. The union will not back down and the school administration will back the teacher.
PG-13 is not what it use to be. :-(
He also said he didn't send home parental consent because the shows are rated PG-13. I informed him that although it may be rated PG-13, much of the content is R rated and not acceptable in our house. He said he understood.