GENTLY, WITH A CHAIN SAW: Back in 12th grade, we each had to "teach" one session of our health class, and so my friend Craig and I asked if we could combine our responsibilities over two classes and show our classmates a recent film about teen suicide, and since he said yes we just popped the R-rated Heathers into the VCR and completed our curricular responsibilities. We thought we were really cool.
Flash forward to 2010, and skip past the overstated objections to Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan for their nudity and violence to find out that in the Philadelphia suburbs, they were showing Larry Clark's unrated Kids in high school Health and Sexuality classes?
Looking through the catalog of R-rated films being shown (as compiled by the objecting parents), there's very little that I wouldn't let a 16- or 17-year old see. I think it's silly to complain about using Frost/Nixon for AP American History just because it "contains one use of 'motherfucker', and a few uses of 'fuck'" as well as "occasional mild coarse language" like "prick"? Or objecting to the use of the first twenty minutes of There Will Be Blood to illustrate Western expansion? That's more than a stretch.
Still, including films like Kids and Glengarry Glen Ross (for 11th grade English, in conjunction with Death of a Salesman) in the curriculum feels a bit gratuitous. Or maybe I'm just become a prude prematurely.