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12-Year-Old Girl "Damaged" By Brokeback Mountain

12-Year-Old Girl "Damaged" By Brokeback Mountain

12-year-old Jessica Turner and her grandparents are suing the Chicago Board of Education because her 8th grade substitute teacher played Brokeback Mountain for her class. From various news reports, it looks like the family is seeking between $400,000 to $500,000 in damages. Here's more:

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."

Wow. I knew Brokeback Mountain was controversial but "traumatizing"? Really?

Just... wow.


Join The Conversation
sugar_me_sweet sugar_me_sweet 10 years
i think it is definitely inappropriate to show a rated R film to 8th graders. i am sure many of the 8th graders have probably seen a rated R film but to show it in class is unorthodox. the family that wants to sue for half a million is just plain greedy because it is not going to cost that much for therapy. watching a film can't be as traumatizing as war or rape.
susanec susanec 10 years
Is it too late for me to sue my old elementary school for letting us watch Where the Red Fern Grows? It was really depressing. Brokeback was inappropriate for the school but lawsuits are out of control. Are these the same parents who sue when their kids don't make a school sports team?
RCLdesigngirl RCLdesigngirl 10 years
Why are they showing movies in school at all? I thought our taxes were going towards the fundamentals of education. Even if she/he were just a substitute teacher, she/he could have given worksheets that would have been more productive for the students. Bad choice to show a movie in the first place; TERRIBLE choice to show an R rated movie; RIDICULOUS choice to show THAT movie. Most adults found it controversial, so it's only natural that they'd be upset that a teacher showed it in school without their consent. I disagree with the thought that if these people are "religious" that they should just put their kids in a school that teaches that religion. Private schools are very expensive, and not all people can afford them. Parents who send their kids to public schools SHOULD NOT have to worry about teachers showing them things that are inappropriate for their age. The teacher did the wrong thing, end of story. If her/his plan was to show an R-rated movie, consent forms SHOULD have been sent out to the parents.
Aminah-Akalea Aminah-Akalea 10 years
I don't know if i agree with that amount but i do hope they get something, 12 years old!! gosh man...that material isnt even suited for her age, it isnt about teaching the children about acceptance nor one shouldnt say if the parents dont like it they should but the child in private school, not everyone cant afford private school fees,that's like saying...well you gon have to take whateva we throw at you because it isnt like you can go somewhere. This is rubbish..i would sue the darn school too! ppl have sued ppl over nonsense, like spilling hot coffee on them and how it affected them and got money..this is more important,..doesnt this have like some kissing and stuff too in it, ppl dont seem to care much about ppl and their religion, the teacher should have known better, she SHOULD NOT have shown it,she could have let ones who had certain beliefs leave the classroom or she could have shown them Degrassi High with the gay guy in it when he was tryng to hide it and all stuff that happened to him,...that would have been towards their age if he/she wanted to make a point, they show their students about ppl of different colours and religions getting abused to show them not to hate??!! that seems unlikely..those things are far more important than sexual orientation,...but that's unfortunately what the world seems to want to be about, SEX SEX and more sex instead of more important matters that ppl dont want to change,...i hope they get money!! ridiculous!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
I think the ban on books that have "curse words" is funnier/more ridiculous than the lawsuit. On second thought, I think they're both equally ridiculous.
andaman andaman 10 years
I think he may be motivated by the money also.
andaman andaman 10 years
This would never happen in UK. I'm sorry guys I don't mean to come across as ethnocentric here (my intention is good). It's just all very, well the word is, too much. Homosexuality is always a hot topic but to sue? God helps him. I really mean that. Why not talk about it or complain really loud to the board. Organise a protest, asking for your right in term of human rights, do whatever. It makes me feel really sad. I thought we have moved forward because of brokeback.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
Why are they even showing movies at school!? Shouldn't they be teaching? And on top of that, if the kids went to the theater they wouldn't be allowed in to this movie - or even PG-13 movies - without their parents present. What kind of judgment do you have to have to think it's therefore ok to show it to them at school without their parents' knowledge!? But, psychological damage seems utterly ridiculous, too. Everyone in this case could use some serious reeducation in the judgment department. But, I'd be willing to be that ol' gpa went down to the school to complain, and they treated him badly and this is all just retribution at this point. :oy: Sigh. What a sad story all around.
cutelatinagirl cutelatinagirl 10 years
Regardless of the child's (or her grandparents') faith, it was inappropriate to show the movie to the class, which has an R rating not for homosexuality but for nudity and adult themes, without parental consent. It was shown by a substitute, so it's likely this wasn't part of the normal teaching plan and a permission slip wasn't issued because of the impromptu showing. If the grandparents want to make a real statement, they should have taken the matter up with the school's PTA or the district board. This way the matter could be addressed in front of parents who may not have known about the movie being shown but were of the same objectional mind over it and all the parties involved would have to explain what it had to do with that day's learning curriculum. Without a proper explanation for it, the district would have to act against the school, the principal, and the substitute through proper legal channels and the matter would then be solved.
sugoionna09 sugoionna09 10 years
That's rediculous! Her grandparents would have had to sign a waiver to allow her to watch a movie over a G rating. There are somethings I'll believe and she may actually have been offended by the movie but children are always given the option of walking out of a movie also. It's just silly in my opinion.
dropstar dropstar 10 years
What. Ever. When I was young, I used to always read my grandmas's Readers' Digest--especially the "drama in true life" stories. If I wasn't traumatized by reading about bear attacks, I know that girl wasn't scarred for life over a love story. On the other hand, her class had no business being shown a rated R movie without parental consent. When I was in 7th grade, my world history teacher showed us Shogun in class. Shogun is an R movie with nudity and graphic violence. I remember my parents were mad at me for going to see Dirty Dancing with my best friend. You can imagine how they reacted to Shogun. Anyway, at least on of my classmates told their parents about the move, and our teacher was reprimanded. I remember her becoming angry with my class, telling us that one of the students "had to be a big baby and go running to tell mommy and daddy they saw a naked lady in class". I'll always remember that because I thought she was unprofessional and misguided!
eBennet eBennet 10 years
Yeah, I agree with the general sentiment - shouldn't have shown an R-rated movie with sex of any kind to 12-yr-old kids in school but these people are being nuts. However, I found this, also from the files of teachers with no judgment, about a group of teachers who staged a fake gunman attack on their 6th grade students "as a learning experience." THOSE parents and children might have some reason to sue. :)
Hollywoodjess Hollywoodjess 10 years
uh why was this shown in an 8th grade class? Whos the principle of this school! That teacher better have gotten fired or some serious punishment for that! Who knows what else he/she has done or shown....and thats a little much to be asking for in a settlement. People who sue these days are a little rediculous...Yea I understand shes traumatized-but that much money? Money cant fix an emotional problem! This reminds me of the guy ho sued a dry cleaner for losing his pants--and were talking in the millions! Anything to get money! What has this world come to?
Classy-Amelia Classy-Amelia 10 years
That is completely absurd. Traumatized over Brokeback Mountain? Geez. But the substitute should've played something more appropriate for school .
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
While I agree that the sub shouldn't have shown and R-rated movie of any subject matter to 8th graders, this lawsuit is out of control! I'd be on their side if the suit was a bit more reasonable.
phatE phatE 10 years
unbelievable.. they aren't representing their faith, by suing for 500,000 in "damages".. that's a lame excuse.
ash_marisa ash_marisa 10 years
Shame on them for even going to a lawyer in the first place. This is not how things are handled in a sane, reasonable manner. This does not merit a lawsuit, only a complaint.
mrflibble mrflibble 10 years
Things you'd do for money...
leigha926 leigha926 10 years
this is so ridiculous. i understand that some parents might object to R-rated content, but seriously...psychological damage? hardly.
TheMissus TheMissus 10 years
While I don't think the movie was age-approrpiate for the "junior high" crowd to be shown during school hours... I think this lawsuit is a bunch of BS. What specifically about it was traumatizing for the girl? Her grandparents should just ask the school system to make a rule that Rated R movies NOT be shown in a junior high school.
jhuck jhuck 10 years
Sometimes there are people who find happiness in b'ching and complaining. This guy probably thinks he's doing the nation a public service by suing. I think he's making a fool out of himself. Was it wrong to show Brokeback to kids? Absolutely. It was an R rated movie. But someday this kid is going to see an episode of Will and Grace and hopefully learn the tolerance that she isn't learning from her grandfather. Is it right to sue for half a million dollars because of this? No. Education suffers enough as it is. Schools NEED the money. Go after the substitute teacher as it was her bad judgement.
redegg redegg 10 years
Shame on them? Shame on the lawyers first! They are the ones who would set fees recovered and tell the client what was reasonable. And they would set it high enough to cover their 30 or 40 or 50% take plus court fees, then the remainder goes to the parents.
ViCkY2 ViCkY2 10 years
okay, so i agree that it was really a bad idea to show the movie to all the 12 yr old kids and the teacher should be criticised. but the grandparents, 'this was the last straw' omg... gosh they're so serious. if they disagree so much about every little thing the school does, then maybe they shouldn't send their kiddy to school at all! i don't even think the teacher would've shown the 'traumatic' scenes to the kids, if he/she was palying it in an 8th grade class!
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