B.C. teacher showed 'age-inappropriate' video to students, gets suspended - InfoNews

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B.C. teacher showed 'age-inappropriate' video to students, gets suspended

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July 28, 2020 - 1:45 PM

A Lower Mainland teacher who showed his Grade 6 students a video about the impact of violence in the media was suspended, in part, because the assignment that followed led some students to find ads on the Internet that included images of violence, sex and racial prejudices for presentations in front of the class.

The video itself wasn’t appropriate for kids that age, according to a B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation decision released today.

Shane Gordon Ashley Kennedy was suspended for three days without pay after Coquitlam parents complained in 2018 their children had been told to watch a Youtube video called, 'The Impact of Media Violence on Today's Youth' before completing an assignment.

The decision says the video is meant for adults and educators and contains footage that "depicts physical violence, assault, sexual content, sexual violence, drugs, drug use, alcohol and gender stereotyping."

While the Commissioner's description of the video makes it sound X-rated, a quick flick through the 45-minute long educational film shows a montage of images of popular culture, featuring clips from The Simpsons and Family Guy, video game Grand Theft Auto, clips of hockey fights and UFC, along with a Miley Cyrus music video and ads from clothing company American Apparel and Wonder Bra, among many others.

After watching the video, students were then told to find an ad and analyze it for a class presentation by answering questions about its message, the negative images used, and the ads' desensitization.

"Kennedy put no restrictions on the students' Internet research for this project," reads the decision.

Some students found "age-inappropriate" ads on the Internet while doing research for their projects. The ads included imagines or references to "simulated sexual intercourse, oral sex, and offensive racial prejudices."

Some of the advertisements formed the basis for some class presentations and were shown in class.

Five parents wrote to Kennedy about the 'The Impact of Media Violence on Today's Youth' video saying it was inappropriate for Grade 6 students. According to the decision, Kennedy, who has been teaching in B.C. since 2006, wrote back to the parents telling them that watching the video was optional, although he hadn't told other students or their parents this.

"Kennedy also did not change any other aspect of the project, and by this point, many students had already watched the (Impact of Media Violence on Today's Youth) video," says the decision.

In October 2018, Kennedy was suspended by the School District for three days without pay and told to take a course titled, Creating a Positive Learning Environment. The School District also referred the incident to the Commissioner.

"Kennedy failed to establish a positive learning environment by using material that was not age-appropriate," reads the decision.

Kennedy agreed to a further one-day suspension and entered into a consent resolution agreement with the Commissioner.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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