Pa. high school students form anti-censorship alliance





PENNSYLVANIA -- Students of Council Rock High School South have united to form South Students Against Literary and Cinematic Censorship in order to combat attempts by some parents to limit media use in the curriculum.

Ryan Carlin founded the group after parents petitioned the school board to ban R-rated films in the classroom.

Carlin accumulated more than 500 student signatures against the ban and presented them to the school board during its monthly meeting.

The policy allows teachers to show district-approved R-rated films and film clips as supplemental material to their curriculum.

After a four and a half hour meeting last Thursday, district school board administrators decided to keep its current policy on R-rated movies.

Superintendent Mark Klein said he feels the students' efforts "were outstanding."

"They carried the evening: they were mature, they were articulate and they spoke very powerfully to why those images helped them understand the greater curricular piece as well as the world in general," Klein said.

Carlin said he "created this [group]... to show that there are level-headed, thinking students out there just waiting for their voices to be heard. I gave them that outlet."

He credited his former Honors English teacher and her lessons on William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice for motivating him to form the group.

"She taught that censorship causes blindness. By young adults not having the opportunity to read this play or see this play, they miss out on the lessons on the evils and stupidity of prejudice. Had it not been for this teacher, I would never have taken a stand," Carlin said.

Of the list of classroom-approved films, only three were removed because they had not been shown for several years.

"They examined the policy, but the policy has been in place for a number of years and I don't expect that we will revisit it," Klein said. "We've strengthened it, obviously, and made sure that people adhere to it [and] made sure that everyone is aware of the ins and outs."

Carlin said that the use of visual arts in education is important to him because it takes "education to a whole new level."


Council Rock High School South, news, Pennsylvania