CHICAGO – A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film “Brokeback Mountain” in class.

The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distress after viewing the movie in her 8th grade class at Ashburn Community Elementary School last year.The film, which won three Oscars, depicts two cowboys who conceal their homosexual affair.

Turner and her grandparents, Kenneth and LaVerne Richardson, are seeking around $500,000 in damages.

“It is very important to me that my children not be exposed to this,” said Kenneth Richardson, Turner’s guardian. “The teacher knew she was not supposed to do this.”

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, the video was shown without permission from the students’ parents and guardians.

The lawsuit also names Ashburn Principal Jewel Diaz and a substitute teacher, referred to as “Ms. Buford.”

The substitute asked a student to shut the classroom door at the West Side school, saying: “What happens in Ms. Buford’s class stays in Ms. Buford’s class,” according to the lawsuit.

Richardson said his granddaughter was traumatized by the movie and had to undergo psychological treatment and counseling.

In 2005, Richardson complained to school administrators about reading material that he said included curse words.

“This was the last straw,” he said. “I feel the lawsuit was necessary because of the warning I had already given them on the literature they were giving out to children to read. I told them it was against our faith.”

Messages left over the weekend with CPS officials were not immediately returned.


Now, there is multiple ways of looking at this.  You cannot become homosexual by hearing/seeing/or watching anything, including a movie.  Also, children are already exposed to news and laws in school which includes some issues with homosexuality.  Plus, the chances of their 12 year old not knowing about gays is pretty slim to none.

On the other hand, why would a school expose 12 year old students to an R-Rated movie?  Especially a movie with graphic sex acts.  The ratings are there for a reason.  According to the ratings, most high school students would also not be allowed to watch the movie without parent permission.  And what was the purpose of showing this movie?  Watching movies like Schindlers List or Saving Private Ryan, while still a little graphic have more to do with history than a fictional story and would more than likely have a greater impact on any class than Brokeback Mountain.

So is watching a movie about an affair of two male cowboys worth $500,000 or is the grandfather just using this movie and his religion as a motive to profit from this child’s supposed distress about being exposed to things that happen in the real world?

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