Last week, a school superintendent in Alabama turned down a request from a group of high school students to go to a screening of Selma, the critically acclaimed film about Martin Luther King Jr.’s crusade for civil rights in Alabama, because it is filled with naughty curse words.
Superintendent Hugh Taylor told Al.com his objection stemmed from a recommendation made by “Kids in Mind,” a website that appears to guide overbearing parents to which movies are acceptable for their kids to see.
I understand the movie has a lot of historical value. The request was denied based on language. [The website] told me there were about two F-words in that movie, which I presume may mean more. The school that wanted to go [Collinsville High] is a multicultural school and [the website] said there were going to be 26 African-American connotations, which I thought would probably be inappropriate. I deemed this movie in particular inappropriate and that’s my job as the head of the school system to make those decisions.
Taylor’s decision, which he says was made in part out of concern for Dekalb County’s taxpayer money being spent on “filthy language,” comes as theaters across the country are hosting free-screenings to hundreds of thousands of students hoping to view the same film. Despite the national embrace and Selma‘s official PG-13 rating, however, Taylor said he simply could not permit students to experience a movie with the “F-word in it.”
“I’m just not going to do that,” he said.
“I”m telling you I’m denying this because of the language,” an insistent Taylor protested too much. “I’m trying to explain to you because I don’t think it’s going to be told correctly. That’s why I have a hard time talking to the media, because I want the truth to be told. I’m denying it based on language. Just make sure you put that in, please.”
“I don’t rule over these people with an iron fist or a big club,” he added.
Alabama is one of three states in the country that simultaneously observes Robert E. Lee Day alongside Martin Luther King Day.