Teacher Suspended After Showing Eminem Video In Class
I’ve had many parents tell me their kids see more R-rated movies in school classrooms than they ever do in movie theaters. If you’ve had that experience with your kids, you may appreciate this story of a seventh-grade teacher (yes… that’s grade seven) who showed her class an Eminem music video. The story on MTV’s website says the 49-year-old Massachusetts teacher showed the infamous rapper’s Superman video during a media studies class. For readers not familiar with the song, it is a typical Eminem tirade about his distrust of women and features many lines of caustic abuse toward women. The video adds to the overall experience by featuring a huge-breasted nearly naked woman he has just finished bedding and then kicks out of his apartment. I’ll spare you the details of what happens from there, but those who are curious can easily find the video with a quick search on YouTube.
For years I have fought this same battle with various schools my children have attended. To me the solution is very simple: Teachers should be planning far enough ahead that they can give parents a heads up on any media resources they are planning to use in the classroom. I have even gone so far as to tell teachers to simply send a note home with the students and if they don’t hear back from me or any other parents, all is well. That saves a teacher from having to cancel plans because parents didn’t get the note. And if my child decides to not give me the note, than the issue is between me and my son or daughter, not the teacher. Likewise, if I do have an objection to a particular movie or other media item used in class all I ask is that my child can be excused or provided with an alternative. For some media items, I have chosen to view them at home with my kids so that we can talk about it prior to class.
Bringing an end to a teaching career over one music video (the MTV story says the teacher has chosen to resign) seems a bit harsh, but teachers who are quick to bring whatever media they can get their hands on into a classroom—especially a grade-seven classroom—need to have a better plan that allows parents, students and teachers the protection and involvement they deserve.