The P-T-A president at a Des Moines elementary school is asking school officials to publicly disclose what discipline an art teacher faces for showing a video to fourth grade students which some parents considered obscene. Shelly Jerrett is the president of the Parent-Teachers Association at Wright Elementary School in Des Moines.
“When we call the h.r. services at the school board, they said they are not allowed to comment on this event,” she says. “And this does not allow us closure for the parents whose children were involved in this incident.” An art teacher at the school showed children a video and one of the students told his mother that as the video was loading, the image of two men engaged in an act was frozen on the screen. The P-T-A president doesn’t have a child in the class of fourth graders who saw that image.
“But if I did have a child in this class I would completely be appalled like any other parent would be,” Jerrett says. According to Jerrett, parents entrust their children to the care of public school teachers and they deserve to be told how teachers are disciplined for inappropriate actions in the classroom.
“Like we teach our children — there are good choices and bad choices and a bad choice was made and consequences need to be dealt out,” Jerrett says. “And these consequences need to be known by the parents of the children who were victims in this situation.” The county attorney has reviewed the matter and said while it showed bad judgement, the incident didn’t warrant criminal charges. Jerrett disagrees.
According to Jerrett, the video exposed children to “sexually graphic imagery” and she says the county attorney’s refusal to press criminal charges shows he is “unwilling to represent the most innocent and defenseless members of our community.” Jerrett says this incident causes parents like her “to give serious consideration” to home schooling their children, or sending them to a private or parochial school rather than the Des Moines Public Schools.
School officials have said privacy laws prevent them from publicly disclosing details about how school district employees are sanctioned in such cases.