Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2000

Parents question lesson

April 20, 2000

A lesson in censorship left two parents with plenty to say to the DeSoto school board Monday night.

Leslie Pratt and Peggy Salyer told board members they were not happy with a DeSoto High School teacher's decision to allow her class to listen to explicit song lyrics in class.

Pratt said she was not informed that a high school English teacher planned to play the compact discs in class during a lesson in censorship. According to Pratt, the teacher asked her students to bring music to class that contained sexually explicit and violent lyrics.

"I'm upset it happened and I would not have given permission for that," she said. "If the lesson plan was on censorship, I'm sure the teacher could have found a more creative way to teach it."

Salyer also believed the teacher was out of line.

"I'm upset about the peer pressure put on the kids. They were told they could leave but it's very upsetting for kids to make the decision of whether to stay or go," she said. "My child sat and listened to the lyrics and I felt it should have gone through me first."

High School Principal Joe Novak and Superintendent Marilyn Layman agreed the lesson was inappropriate and told the parents the situation had been dealt with.

"She's a young teacher and she made a bad decision," Layman said. "She was reprimanded."

Board members also agreed with the parents and spoke with them about the issue for about 20 minutes in a closed-door session at the board meeting. Open meeting laws allow board members to discuss personnel or student issues in private.

Pratt and Salyer repeated what they told the board during the open meeting but did not use names of the teachers or students involved. Pratt said she wanted to address the issue publicly because she believed many parents were unaware of what had happened.

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