Sunday, February 26, 2012

'Bully' Problems: The MPAA Gives A Scarlett 'R' To A Thoughtful Documentary

Linda Holmes

February 24, 2012

The Weinstein Company has lost an appeal to the MPAA, which has smacked an R rating on the painful documentary Bully (which I saw at Silverdocs last year when it was called The Bully Project), from filmmaker Lee Hirsch.

The rating is for language — meaning that the reason the ratings organization is taking the position that the movie isn't appropriate for kids to see without their parents is not that it depicts violence and trauma and the aftermath of the suicides of children, but because an environment full of teenagers, when realistically portrayed, includes swearing.

The MPAA sent out a polite statement that says, in part:

Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions.

The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.

The rating and rating descriptor of 'some language,' indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language. With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie and others may not, but it is their choice and not ours to make for them. The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie. The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it. Once advised, many parents may take their kids to see an R-rated film. School districts, similarly, handle the determination of showing movies on a case-by-case basis and have their own guidelines for parental approval.

Read more HERE.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Redistricting Update

The Board of Education on Feb. 14 received the Redistricting Committee suggestions for the rezoning of Theodore G. Davis Middle School, William A. Diggs Elementary School and Mary B. Neal Elementary School. Students attending Matthew Henson Middle School and Milton M. Somers Middle SchoolJ.C. Parks Elementary School and Berry Elementary School may also be affected by the rezoning.

Visit our Redistricting Web page at to find out more about redistricting, opportunities for input to the Board and if your neighborhood is possibly affected by the rezoning.

The first public hearing is 7 p.m., Feb. 28, at Thomas Stone High School.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 2/14/12

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, February 14 will be re-broadcast on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon FIOS Channel 12 and is available via webstream at . To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.
The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes.
Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance, Maurice J. McDonough High School's JROTC unit

Superintendent's update - See report

Correspondence/Board Member updates

  • Bowie - Mac Middleton says hello; attended Lobby Day and encourages taxpayers to call, email, visit; No Child Left Behind bills at a standstill
  • Pedersen - attended CCASC Middle School meeting; discussion on bullying and food service
  • Lukas - Tri-County Concerts for Orchestra & Band; Congratulations to all
  • Wise - State Superintendent visit - impressed with telepresence; space flight presentation at McDonough; Richmond won award from Alpha Kappa Alpha
Education Association of Charles County update - See report
Student Board Member update - See report

Student transfers - See recommendation
  • Abell - Specific changes from the current policy to this committee's proposal
  • Schwartz - employee's child to attend school at place of work or closest school to place of work; space available only for academic and hardship consideration
  • Abell - Space available should be for ALL instances
  • Schwartz - Benefits to employees outweigh the costs
  • Wise - All three levels requested
  • Pedersen - Requests numbers from the next few years to observe impact and statistics
  • Lukas - Full time employee?
  • Hettel - Works for us on a full time permanent basis under the negotiated agreement.
  • Cook - Certificated & non-certificated will impact over enrollment
  • Lukas - Certificated vs non-certificated ratio for an elementary school
Athletic trainers - Rehabilitation Center of Southern Maryland
  • Powerpoint presentation about duties & statistics
  • Inclusion of student athletic training services
  • Wise - Knee injuries more prevalant in women; Does student athletic trainer abide by GPA?
  • Pedersen - Commend company
  • Richmond - What can we do to prevent injuries?
  • RCSM - Strengthening, conditioning and access
  • Abell - Requests presentation to be placed on BoardDocs; How was this company selected?
  • Cornette - Bid process
  • Cook - Background in exercise physiology -- some coaches still do stretches that are no longer considered current
  • RCSM - Therapists build relationships with coaches and work with them.
  • Lukas - Stretched thin
  • RCSM - Definitely
  • student - Why more knee injuries than others?
  • RCSM - Prone to overuse and impact and posture and weight
  • student - Thought there would be more concussions than ankle injuries in football
  • RCSM - Coach works with students to teach them proper tackle techniques, etc.
  • student - Why does lacrosse have more knee injuries than football?
  • RCSM -Lacrosse is nothing but running and pivoting
CIP update - see report
  • SMECO program exchange to LED lights
  • discussion on replacing light bulbs in all the schools, hues, affects on students
Redistricting update - see report
  • Abell - Did the committee look at how many times we're moving specific neighborhoods or area?
  • Weslowski - Based on the policy, we cannot move neighborhoods within a three year time period.
  • Wise - Includes allocations already given and potential growth
  • student - Special needs students that have relationships
  • Weslowski - Not under this plan but through the student transfer policy
Educational Showcase - see report

Policy #3430: Accounts (opening and closing accounts) - see report

Budget update - see report

Teacher evaluation pilot - see report

Legislative update

Non-discrimination policy

Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Rida Dhanani, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, Berry Elementary School; Chidera Onyekuru, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, J.P. Ryon Elementary School; Kevon Douglas, 4th grade, Personal Responsibility, Eva Turner Elementary School; Mary Lavery, 12th grade, Academic Achievement, La Plata High School; Kelly Dingess, 11th grade, Career Readiness, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center
  • Employees - Erica Strass, science teacher, Berry; Jillian Genua, physical education teacher, Ryon; Pamela Shorter, food service worker, Turner; Brian Craley, alternative school teacher, Stethem; Stephen Williams, administrative assistant, La Plata
  • Resolutions: Read Across Charles County; Women's History Month; and Fine and Performing Arts Month
  • Rotary Clubs of Waldorf and La Plata - recognition of dictionary donations to schools
Unfinished business
  • Pedersen - Subcommittees, such as for goals; work sessions are full
  • Lukas - Will send committee's information out tomorrow and then an information item at board meeting
  • Lukas - Scouts here for Merit Badge
New business - none

Future agenda items

Public Forum – 6 p.m.
  • Eldridge Proctor - resident of Laurel Branch, redistricting concerns, both Plan A & Plan B are the same options for their neighborhood. Wants a Plan C. Doesn't feel the communities perspective was taken into consideration.
  • Lordis (?) - both Plan A & Plan B are the same, wants kids to go their community school, lives under 4 miles from current school, petition online, reconsider
  • James (BJ) Proctor III - student affected by new rezoning plans, has a 4.0, lives less than 4 minutes away, in numerous clubs and activities, please reconsider and let him go to neighborhood school.
  • Lisa Powell - resident for 12 years, has a student at Mudd, 16 students per class now it's 28. Students not doing as well. Why have we not added another teacher and what to do?
  • Denise Yates - son at Piccowaxen Middle School - Mandatory after school band rehearsals
Action items
  • Minutes
  • Motion to accept Minutes by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Personnel A
  • Motion to accept Personnel A by Pedersen; Second by Bowie
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Personnel B
  • Motion to accept Personnel B by Cook; Second by Pedersen
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Pedersen, Wade, Wise; Abstain = Lukas

Friday, February 10, 2012

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 2/14/12

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m. and student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12 and is rebroadcast throughout the week. The meeting is also streamed live on the Charles County Public Schools Web site. Visit to watch the meeting.
Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance, Maurice J. McDonough High School's JROTC unit

Superintendent's update

Correspondence/Board Member updates

Education Association of Charles County update

Student Board Member update

Student transfers

Athletic trainers

CIP update

Redistricting update

Educational Showcase

Policy #3430: accounts (opening and closing accounts)

Budget update

Teacher evaluation pilot

Legislative update

Non-discrimination policy

Recognition – 4:30 p.m.

  • Students
  • Employees
  • Resolutions: Read Across Charles County; Women's History Month; and Fine and Performing Arts Month
  • Rotary Clubs of Waldorf and La Plata; recognition of dictionary donations to schools
Unfinished business

New business

Future agenda items

Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel

Thursday, February 09, 2012

No Child Left Behind: 10 States Receive Waivers From Education Law's Sweeping Requirements

Huff Post

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned.
The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval, a White House official told the AP.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the states had not yet been announced. A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers – a sign of just how vast the law's burdens have become as a big deadline nears.

Read more HERE