Teacher In Mexico Fired For Showing “Milk” To Students

A middle-school teacher in Mexico has been fired after screening Milk for her students.

Cecilia Hernandez, a new civics teacher at Lomas Hill School in Cuajimalpa, was addressing sexual orientation and human rights, which is part of the official Department of Education curriculum.

But administrators say the Oscar-winning film by Gus Van Sant was way too adult.

Hernández, who showed the first half hour of the film to her 7th and 8th graders, says she included the screening in her approved lesson plan and heard no objections.

According to Proceso:

She also claims to have selected this film after offering her students other options and it was them who voted to watch Milk since it was based on a true story. She added that, before the movie played, she warned students the movie contained scenes that could make them uncomfortable.

But the day after she showed the clip, she was sent to the principal’s office and was told she was fired. When she went to the school the next day, two security guards took her to the office of the principal,

“The lack of tact ad the disrespect you have shown students today is unforgivable,” said principal Annette Muench de Labardini in an email. “I consider it disrespect towards myself as well, since your lesson plan did not say you were showing this filth.”

Though Hernández says she doesn’t want her job back, she’s filed a complaint with the national discrimination board.

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  • 2eo

    Hopefully she wins, such thinly veiled bigotry is unacceptable for anyone allowed to work with children, Annette Muench de Labardini should be ashamed, what a failure of a person.

  • Fidelio

    Hello??? Middle school??? I was watching Thundercats at that age! WTF???

  • mlbumiller

    @Fidelio: And the Regan Administration was doing crap about AIDS when you were in middle school.
    I have yet to see “MILK”, but any violenc or sex that they might have seen is no worse then what the can see on any prime time show or movie today.

  • hyhybt

    @Fidelio: Were you watching them in school, as part of a lesson?

  • Fidelio

    @mlbumiller: puh leez! I’ve seen And the Band Played On. And I’ve seen Milk, which can easily mean Franco’s pale ass. I just would not want my child to view such a racy film at that age in school. I believe the subject matter is too nuanced and may simply cause confusion. It may make more sense to view it in high school. Under the circumstances, I just find it inappropriate.

  • Fidelio

    @hyhybt: No, I was watching them at home drooling over Lion-o in the privacy of my own home.

  • hyhybt

    The most relevant question is who is telling the truth about the lesson plan.

  • hyhybt

    Hey, when did the favicon update? About time :)

  • startenout

    I hate to say it, but as a middle school teacher myself, showing a Rated R movie in most any class, including most of high school, is a bad idea because the students are under 17. I don’t know if Mexico adheres to the same MPAA ratings as we do in the U.S., but there are many other films that address sexual orientation and human rights and are appropriate for a middle school age students.

    Yes, I know that kids use profanity and talk about sex…we did when we were their age. However, as an educator, it isn’t our place to expose them to the behaviors regardless of the intended educational experience.

  • MakesYouWonder

    In middle school, my teacher showed us Schindler’s List, she had our parents sign parental slips, she warned us about what we were about to see, took breaks between the movie to give us a chance to digest and discuss. Kids are far more capable of handling adult themes then we give them credit for, if it’s done in a constructive place with plenty of opportunities for kids to back out if they can’t handle it then I see no issue. We can’t continue to coddle when it comes to education.

  • Fidelio

    @startenout: Nicely stated.

  • startenout

    @MakesYouWonder: How is being responsible and not showing R Rated movies coddling? Honestly, there are options that cover the same topic material, and if the parents want to allow their kids to watch the R Rated film, they should be viewing it with their children and explaining it, not I.

    Could your teacher have gotten the same information across using Diary Of Anne Frank or Jakob The Liar, both wonderful films about lives during the holocaust and with a PG-13 or less rating? Probably. Could this teacher have instructed her class in sexual orientation using Trevor or videos from GLSEN’s Ready, Set, Respect series? Most definitely. As a teacher you have to make choices in how you present the material you choose or are required to teach.

    I could teach math by having them add and subtract penises and vaginas, but it isn’t necessary.

  • MakesYouWonder

    @startenout: You make a very good point, I didn’t mean to imply that teaching the same material to young people in ways that are more acceptable for their age group was coddling, and I do apologize if that is how it sounded. After all I am not a teacher, and I like to think that (hopefully) most teachers have their students’ best interest at heart. Ultimately though I hope the students walked away from the movie not with a sense of accomplishment because they got away with watching a R-Rated movie in school but with a sense of enlightenment because of lesson they were supposed to learn from it.

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