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

Quest for Fire at 6:
Oral Presentation
by Gilbert and Tawny Abalos
to the Ferris ISD School Board
September 21, 1999

This is the actual oral presentation made by Tawny and Gilbert Abalos to the Ferris ISD School Board on September 21, 1999. As pointed out by our Director - Technical Support, I wonder what the Board would have done had the teacher been showing the Jesus film for three years?

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

The Oral Presentation
Mr. Gilbert and Mrs. Tawny Abalos
to the Ferris ISD School Board.

Mrs. Abalos speaking:
Our grievance is a result of the Ferris Elementary School art teacher, [name withheld] showing portions of an R-rated movie to our 6 year old daughter without parental consent on Wednesday, September 1st [1999]

As stated in our tape-recorded grievance, we brought our complaint before [name withheld], Principal on Thursday, September 2nd at 8am. We could see that she kept defending the teacher and at this point, [the Principal] had not stated that she was even going to reprimand [the teacher], so we brought our complaint to the Superintendent, [name withheld] at 1:30pm that same day. Gilbert [Abalos] requested that the teacher be terminated. [The Superintendent] said, "That's not gonna happen." Gilbert then verified with [the Superintendent], "Is this your final decision?" [The Superintendent] said, "Yes." Gilbert informed him that, "We would not stop there and we would not stand alone." This statement informed [the Superintendent] that we were going to the school board. [The Superintendent] said nothing and Gilbert left under the impression that our next step was the Board. Under "Students and Parent Complaints"-FNG (local) of the policy manual it states under General Provisions that, "Unless otherwise provided by a policy referenced above (see 'Certain Complaints') students or parents shall be entitled to informal conferences with administrators to resolve their complaints. If such attempts are unsuccessful, the students or parents may take their complaint to the Board." When Gilbert told [the Superintendent] that, "He would not stop here...", [The Superintendent] was given notice that we wanted to continue the appeals process. At that time [The Superintendent] should have provided Gilbert with a reference to "Certain Complaints" and advised him of the required modified complaints process. He did not. Instead, he waited until the next time we were in the office, which was Wednesday the 8th. We came to request copies of policies and were met with arrogance and an unwillingness to cooperate with the "District Hearing Officer". He did not take our complaint seriously and did not offer to have us give written statement, but we did give our grievance to the Superintendent, and this was our Level II complaint. We therefore, will be presenting all evidence we have collected. Our protest to giving an additional statement to the "District Hearing Officer" is recorded during the September 13th hearing.

In our additional hearing with [the District Hearing Officer], we gave a tape-recorded statement. We were recorded saying that our daughter viewed in the movie "...a stick going through a man's mouth and out the back of his head..." and she (our daughter) explained how she had seen the nudity. Where there was a scene of cavemen laying around and saw nudity...and I questioned [the Principal] about that. "Well, what about the nudity she saw?" And she said, "Well, [the teacher] is an art teacher and it's like a naked statue-you view it as art." In the letter we received from [the District Hearing Officer] dated September 15th, he informed us of his decision. He stated facts which were collected in his investigation. In his facts, he verified our claim that our daughter saw, "a stick go through a man's mouth and out the back of his head." However, he never addressed the issue of our daughter seeing nudity. He did not verify it nor did he deny it. Why did he not address this statement? This is a serious allegation, and if the school were concerned with the safety of the children, this should have been investigated and answered. Is there a cover-up?

In our meeting with [the Principal], she said that [the teacher] admitted to having been showing this movie for several years. We can verify that [the teacher] has shown this movie this year and the past two years. This can be verified through our daughter's homeroom teacher, [name withheld]. She questioned her own daughter who is now in the 3rd grade. Her daughter verified seeing the movie in the 1st grade. Think of all the children in each class from at least 3 years that had to view that filth. The American Heritage Dictionary defines abuse as, " assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words...a corrupt practice or custom." As stated in our recorded hearing, we already had a complaint about this teaching speaking abusively to our daughter last year. This can be verified by our daughter's homeroom teacher from last year, [name withheld]. Also note that at our Level 1 complaint with [the principal], she did state that she had been made aware of our complaint about [the teacher] last year. Now it is discovered that for at least 3 years, 6 to 7 year old children are being subjected to frightening violence and nudity. I would say that this falls under, "corrupt practice or custom" and "contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words." This is abuse. And who's to say that out of all the classes she's shown that video to within 3 years, that she NEVER fast-forwarded incorrectly and showed full blown sex or the nightmarish cannibalism that is in this movie? My daughter described the different scenes she saw and you have to fast-forward over the sex, oral sex, and cannibalism to get to the scenes she saw. This teacher has exhibited mental and emotional child abuse to our little 6 and 7 year old children. Do you not have enough concern for these little children to protect them? You rather spend our tax dollars to send an attorney from Austin up to Ferris just to protect the teacher and this administration. This is a sad situation that I think the tax payers will want to know about.

We know that you could not possibly want to authorize any further abuse by maintaining the employment of [the teacher]. Seeing her as a liability, we have included legal cases from the Victimization of Children/Research and Education Council of America and the Rutherford Institute which have formed precedents. Courts agree that even high school classes should not view rated R movies and have upheld the teacher's termination. We believe, and are requesting for, at the VERY LEAST that every parent of every first-grader from this school year and the previous two years should be notified in writing that their child may have viewed portions of an R-rated movie, "Quest For Fire" [Analysis at,] in their first grade class. We also ask that this letter announce that counseling will be made available to any child in need, and that an apology from the school district be included. This is the only decent thing to do. We now ask that you consider adopting our "Proposed Policy on the Use of Videos in the Classroom" into the administration policy manual.

Attached you will find the definitions for the Voluntary Movie Rating System, a copy of the PTO President's letter to us stating that (the school), has "pulled all movies from the school except those rated G or Regional 10 educational movies." This shows that the school has either not had a policy on showing PG and above rated movies, or that it has been violating current policy. We have included copies of the policy manual's section on "Instructional Resources" which is the most applicable since there is no policy in the manual on videos and copies of each separate school' own video policy in our school district. It is our hope that this policy will be adopted into the administration's policy manual to deter any further violations for our children's and their parent's values and morals.

Mr. Abalos Speaking:
As we look into the future of our school systems, it doesn't look good. We have more violence. We have more abuse. We have less interest in our children. It is a fact that there is less parental involvement in our children's school life. In the last 5 years, we have had shootings, the worst and most talked about now is Columbine. The forefathers of this community of Ferris and Ferris ISD had in mind the welfare and discipline of our children when they made all the rules that apply today. The handbook is very strict and has some very good moral rules of conduct. I must ask you -- do these rules and regulations require that a teacher be allowed to bring in their own material to teach with? Why was there a R rated, fiction movie shown to 6 year olds? You do not have a clear answer to this question. BY making your decision to do nothing and by taking this lightly, you are saying it is ok to show this garbage to 6 year olds. Yes, I call it garbage because that is what it is. As far as I know, there is no curriculum that involves showing an R rated, fiction movie to 6 year old children and scaring them. By making your decision to keep this teacher in the school system, you are sending a message to kids that their welfare is not important. You are sending a message to the parents that their children can be subject to any filth a teacher wants to show them.

Where do we draw the line? Does a child have to be physically hurt? We have often heard the famous saying that, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." But, a young mind is also easy to corrupt. Why must a single teacher be allowed to freely corrupt the young innocent, minds of our children with R rated, fiction garbage and get away with it by just getting a write-up? This Red Flag warning should not be taken lightly. In fact, it is so serious and we as concerned parents are here tonight to make sure the safety and education of our children and our future stays intact. I want you to take a moment and imagine your 6 year old, or any age child for that matter. But picture that child that you love so much. Imagine your child in a room all by himself or herself. Nobody else is around. Just them by their self in a room. You can't protect them, you can't talk to them, you can't control what happens to them. Now picture your very own child forced, not by choice, fur forced to sit through and watch a scary, embarrassing and harmful movie. No one is there to tell them it isn't real -- that is not a choice you have because your child is being forced to watch this movie. Your child is being forced to be afraid. Your child is being forced to be embarrassed. Your child is being forced to remember not art, but nightmares for 2 weeks -- not school, but nightmares -- not lessons but nightmares -- not a safe environment, but nightmares of a rated R, terrible, fiction movie. There was more than one child hurt by this forced viewing of a rated R movie. This infuriates me even worse that other innocent children were affected in some form or fashion by thus rated R movie.

If you board members can honestly sit here and honestly say that you would allow your child to be forced to learn about how to stick a spear through a man's mouth hard enough and with enough force to drive it out the back of another man's head, then we surely have even a bigger problem than just the teacher. By terminating one teacher, this whole thing can end. Our children can heal. They can be safe again. They can learn again -- about true art. real art -- not fiction, rated R, filthy movies. Then they won't have to worry about nightmares.

Would you put your child in that room by himself? Surely no. Would you let your child watch this R rated movie at school, expecting them to learn any academic values? We ask you again, PLEASE terminate this teacher and end the nightmares.

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

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