ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

POSTED: September 23, 1999

Quest for Fire at 6:
Ferris ISD School Board Meeting

After a very emotional ordeal, Tawny Abalos faxed to us her hand-written accounting of the September 21, 1999 Ferris ISD School Board Meeting pursuant the complaint of the Abaloses (and now others) about a first grade teacher showing what the teacher claims to be portions of Quest for Fire (R) to their six and seven year old children as part of an art project.

Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

On Tuesday, September 21, 1999 at noon, I, Mrs. Abalos met with a reporter from WFAA Channel 8 news [] along with another parent from the elementary school whose daughter has been traumatized by Quest for Fire, (R) also. We gave our interview, and the report aired at 5:00 pm. At 7:00 pm, Mr. Abalos and myself both arrived at the Administration Building for the school board meeting. We were told by the board members that our meeting had been moved to the Intermediate School. We feel this was a tactic of the administration to either mislead parents into believing that no one was at the meeting or to confuse people as to the location so they wouldn't be able to attend. When the meeting started, discussion was opened to the public.

A concerned parent in the audience voiced her opinion regarding her child seeing a R-rated movie. The Board told her she could not discuss that topic because it pertained to an individual. The Board then closed the open discussion and asked us to go into a private executive session with them. We gave the Board members each a packet of evidence collected which consisted of other legal cases pertaining to R-rated movies being shown to children, email responses to a newsletter sent out on the Internet, copies of letters from concerned parents and taxpayers, an analysis of the movie shown [], the professional opinion of the psychological damage possible from viewing this film [], and a proposal for adopting a new policy regarding the showing of videos in the classroom. We were then given 20 minutes to give our oral presentation [to be included on another page].

Afterwards, the Board members asked us questions about our rules of showing violent videos in our home and if we believed in giving second chances. We explained that we do not show violent videos to our children, and that we do believe in second chances -- but not when it involves 6 year old children being traumatized. We explained that sometimes people take actions that have certain consequences and that we believed the teacher's termination was the proper consequence, especially after showing the video to 1st graders for three years. We feel that we presented our case thoroughly and professionally. We answered every question with very appropriate and logical answers. The Board then deliberated. When they returned to the open meeting with the public, they made a motion to investigate the possible addition of a video viewing policy to the policy manual. Then the president asked if there were any motions to be made in regards to our case, and not one Board member answered. The Board president then announced the "The Level II Hearing decision [reprimand with letter to file] is upheld."

They did NOTHING! We had asked that at the VERY LEAST that every parent of every child who had viewed the video in three years be notified in writing and that counseling be made available to them and that the letter include an apology. They couldn't even do that.

The Board spent our tax dollars to pay for an attorney to come here from Austin [TX] to defend the teacher and the administration, but yet they couldn't do anything for our children who are scared to go to art class and who are having nightmares. This is a very sad day. Even our Parent Teacher Organization president was quoted as saying on the news "I don't believe this lynch mob mentality." She was comparing a racially motivated, hate group to parents who are standing up to say that we don't want our children to be subjected to this teacher's abuse any longer. Other concerned parents have now joined us to seek justice for our children in a court of law.

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Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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