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Movie policy panned

February 16, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A new policy regarding in-classroom movies in the Waynesboro Area School District passed a school board vote this week, but not without debate.

"Have we really gotten to the point where we're telling our AP (Advanced Placement) students they can't watch a movie like 'Schindler's List?'" asked Tyler Bowders, student representative for the board.

Bowders, a senior, was referring to a section of the policy that states "no films or parts of films with the rating of 'R,' 'NC-17' or 'X' are to be shown."

In response, board member Sherry Cline said the school board reserves the right to make exceptions. She defended the policy as it came under attack from others.

"It's a good policy," Cline said.

Board member Pat Heefner criticized development of the policy, saying issues with individual teachers should've been addressed with them instead of punishing everyone.

In June 2010, the school board looked at a student-generated list of movies shown at the high school. That list, which included "Castaway" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," drew the ire of some school board members as having educationally inappropriate choices.

"There was no peer policing," board member Leland Lemley said. "There was no policing in the buildings by the administration."

"Do you punish the teachers for what the administration didn't carry out?" board member K. Marilyn Smith asked.

Smith, a member of the board's policy committee, said she felt the movies policy was unnecessary.

The policy suggests in "a general guideline" that audio-visual materials should be limited to one class period per unit, which Superintendent James Robertson said is typically three to five weeks.

The new policy states all movies must be approved on a quarterly basis. Lemley said the district already has a 20-page list of movies deemed acceptable by the superintendent and board.

The policy passed 4-3, with Lemley, Cline, Chris Lind and Billie Finn voting to approve it. Heefner, Smith and Bonnie Bachtell voted against it.

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