December 1, 2005

FL School Nixes ‘We Are Family’ Video; Says Tolerance Message “Messes with Kids’ Minds”

Tuesday July 12th 2005, 10:07 am
Filed under: Obscene!

Broward County schools won’t be showing the ‘We Are Family’ video to kids. (You remember the video, right? It’s the musical tribute to tolerance that led Jerry Falwell to label SpongeBob SquarePants a pervert? Coming back to you?)

Anyhow, the district’s “diversity” committee has decided that the video is inappropriate because it “could confuse children about the difference between family members and strangers and open the door to discussion about sexual orientation.”

From the Miami Herald:

“Even in the liberal group, they understand that these people are trying to mess with our kids’ minds and introduce all kinds of activities in the name of tolerance,'’ said Steve Kane, a radio talk show host and a member of the diversity committee, which voted 10-7 against the video in May.

Committee members are appointed by the School Board.

More than 61,000 schools throughout the country received a copy of the DVD and accompanying training material courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League and the We Are Family Foundation.

The ADL, which has long provided Broward and other districts with educational material, said it knew of only a handful of districts that voted not to use the video.

In Broward, however, the videos will be shelved, having received a single showing at Wilton Manors Elementary.

‘’I'm shocked. I’m chagrined. I’m outraged. I am perplexed. I’m amazed,'’ said Dennis G. Kainen, Florida regional board chair for the ADL. “I can’t understand. To me, being upset at SpongeBob is like being upset at Ma and apple pie.'’

Officials with the Broward County Christian Coalition, who viewed the video after hearing from a diversity committee member, said the underlying message of the DVD and accompanying teaching material promoted a homosexual agenda.

‘’We didn’t think it was appropriate for such young children,'’ said Barbara Collier, chairwoman of the coalition, which sent an ‘’e-mail alert'’ to members about the matter. “They wouldn’t be able to understand what it was about.'’

The controversy stems not from any explicit mention of homosexuality in the video — there isn’t any — but from its theme that people are all part of one big family, a message that, critics contend, could be construed to include pedophiles and other criminals. They also fear that the video could blunt other important messages for kids of that age, like the importance of being wary of strangers.

Previous reviews of the video by viewers in its target audience (i.e., 6-year-olds) show that they understand the message just fine.

Students at one South Florida school “giggled, clapped and wiggled as they watched the montage of characters flash across the screen.” Devon Peoples, a Ft. Lauderdale six-year-old, provided this plot synopsis: “Just because we’re all different, we are still a part of a family,” he said. “Everyone is different, like Barney and stuff.”

Story in the Miami Herald.

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2 Comments so far

Pandagon has a few things to say about the story too. (One of them being “They’re children, people, not morons.”)

Comment by Amanda Toering 07.12.05 @ 10:34 am

Vanity Smurf has some thoughts

Comment by Jay 07.13.05 @ 8:43 am

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