D86 Parent on Objection to Sexually Suggestive Movies: 'Maybe Mine Will Open the Door'
Victor Casini, who disapproves of students watching "American Beauty" and "Brokeback Mountain" in a high school class, filed the first District 86 curriculum objection in at least eight years on Sept. 12.
After becoming the first District 86 community member to file a curriculum objection in at least eight years, Victor Casini said he wasn’t sure why it had been so long since someone went through the process.
He said it could be that the process is onerous, that busy parents just don’t have time. Or perhaps, he said, there hasn’t been anything to object to in recent years.
“Maybe mine will open the door,” Casini said.
Casini, a Hinsdale South parent and Burr Ridge resident of 18 years, filed his objection on Sept. 12 to the showing of “American Beauty” and “Brokeback Mountain,” two racy and R-rated films, in a Film as Literature course for juniors and seniors.
District 86 Superintendent Nick Wahl said Casini’s curriculum objection was the first since Wahl came to the district.
Casini is an attorney and former Gower School District 62 board member. He says he thinks there needs to be clear standards set on acceptable curriculum and that the district’s board members, as elected representatives of the community, should have be involved in deciding what conforms to those standards.
“The school board is elected for this very reason,” Casini said. “The curriculum is ultimately in the school board’s duties.”
And while the board plans to discuss at its Monday night meeting whether it should indeed have that general power to oversee non-textbook curriculum materials like movies, it is also possible that Casini’s specific objection could come before the board in the coming weeks if he does not accept Wahl's decision on his objection, and elects to appeal it.
Wahl's decision, which will follow an investigation by the district's complaint manager, needs to be delivered by Oct. 3 according to Board Policy 2:260.
Casini said he did sign the Film as Literature syllabus several school days into the school year. He said it contained dozens of movies without thorough descriptions.
He hadn’t seen either of the movies in question, though, until after signing the syllabus.
When he did watch the films, Casini took note of the sexual content and obscenities that he did not approve of, and delivered those notes to board members while making a public comment on the topic at the board’s Sept. 10 meeting.
“We still believe that parents have a duty to raise their kids to be responsible, productive, moral citizens for this country,” he said of his family. “Issues like this mean something to us.”
Casini said he’s a religious person, but this isn’t a religious issue.
“This argument, this particular issue, can be analyzed on secular grounds,” Casini said. “There’s a certain sense of right and wrong in a community. You do not have to defer to a religion to determine that.”
The parent says he plans to speak again during the public comment portion of Monday night’s board meeting and he hopes people on both sides of the issue show up to voice their opinions.
While some parents might disagree with him, Casini says he’s not alone in his opinion.
“I can tell you that there are a pretty fair number of parents who are shocked and passionate about the issue. They’re out there.”
Earlier stories on this issue:
- D86's Wahl: PD's Movie-Related Email Investigation Ongoing, School Safety Not Threatened
- Complaints About Sex-Heavy Films in School Prompt Cops to Review District Emails
- District Responds to 'Highly Controversial Films' Complaint
- 'Highly Controversial' Movies Being Shown in Class Have D86 Parent Concerned