EAST HARTLAND, Conn. – Parents of student at Hartland School are outraged over a sexually graphic YouTube video shown to sixth-graders as part of a social studies lesson this week.
The nine-minute video, shown to students Monday as part of a lesson on the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” described a sexual encounter in graphic detail, and is prompting some parents to call for the termination of the teacher who played it, Fox reports.
The news site published an excerpt from the video, but refrained from citing the more explicit portions.
“Tell her to strip off her robe and lie there naked,” Fox quoted from the video. “Take his breath with your kisses, show him what a woman is – He drew close, Shamat touched him on the thigh.”
“It’s described very slowly and it takes a while to get all these details out and we just feel like there were so many opportunities for the video to have been stopped by the teacher and it just wasn’t,” parent Katie May told the news site.
David Burrage, a father of two students in the class, also complained about the graphic video.
“It’s questionable whether (the teacher) did it intentionally or unintentionally, but it shouldn’t matter,” he said.
Principal Laura Hollingsworth did not identify the teacher, but said she removed him from the classroom while school officials investigate the incident, according to a letter sent to parents. She said the teacher made a mistake, but would not discuss his status with Fox.
May and other parents, however, claim Hollingsworth did not take action until parents voiced their concerns. They’ve also taken matters into their own hands.
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May contacted Connecticut State Police to file a complaint against the teacher, and others are considering legal action, Fox reports.
“For my daughter, that was a big deal,” May said. “That was something she was not used to hearing. It made her uncomfortable; she doesn’t want to go back to school.”
“I don’t want my daughter in this guy’s class,” Burrage said. “… I don’t care if it’s a one-time event or not. I mean, it should be a zero-tolerance policy on stuff like this.”
The teacher who showed the video did not return Fox’s request for comment, and school officials wouldn’t discuss how he mistakenly showed the nine-minute video.
Those who commented on the issue on Facebook had mixed reactions.
“This is not newsworthy. I promise those kids are saying and hearing much worse things amongst themselves and from listening to their parents speak,” Jillian Mango posted. “This man is a human being who made an honest mistake in a world where people think they are perfect. There are bigger things to worry about our children listening to than an old poem.”
Mango went on to recall school field trips when she would giggle with other students at old “graphic” art, and noted that her and her classmates were not traumatized by it.
Melanie Osuch countered Mango’s point.
“The difference is Jillian, is that we grew up in a different time and a different place. Most of us grew up without the benefit of computers, the internet, cell phones, and social media. So what we did wasn’t tracked all over the world,” she posted.
“Things change, you have to make sure that your kids are protected, but at the same time not making them afraid of the world. I do not think that this is an appropriate lesson for someone who is only 11 or 12 years old. Sorry.”