Following District 86's decision Monday night to uphold Superintendent Nick Wahl's decision to continue showing the movies "American Beauty" and "Brokeback Mountain" in a Hinsdale South literature class, a parent who filed a complaint about the appropriateness of the movies released this statement:
On Monday night, the school board voted 5 to 2 to uphold Superintendent Wahl's decision that "policy" was followed regarding the inclusion of the controversial movies in the Film as Literature class. But the vote itself involved some controversy.
There was once again quite a bit of debate among the school board members regarding the Curriculum Objection. Board Member Skoda introduced a motion (seconded by Board Member Barrett) that the board request Superintendent Wahl to revisit the matter and specifically determine whether the inclusion of the controversial films was consistent with, among other policies, Policy No. 6:810 (were they age-appropriate, did they serve an educational purpose, were they consistent with the curriculum and was a balanced view presented).
After extensive debate about this motion, Board President Brennan announced that the motion would be voted upon. However, Brennan further announced that he was unilaterally amending the motion -- it would now be a motion to uphold Superintendent Wahl's decision. The board members cast their votes (in some cases, hesitantly) 5 to 2 to uphold Wahl's decision. *After the vote, Board Member Gallo asked Brennan (quote not exact): "Why didn't we vote on the original motion? Don't you think it would have been better to vote on the original motion?" Awkward silence followed.
The process looked more like Chicago politics than a healthy exercise of democracy. For reasons one can only speculate about, it seems like certain people do not want the merits of this issue to be voted upon.
I will be appealing the matter to the Regional Superintendent of Schools.
*Editor's Note: Regarding this sentence in the above statement, Board President Dennis Brennan responded to board member Kay Gallo's question that, procedurally, a motion can be amended before a vote.