A scavenger hunt in a Birmingham, Ala., City Schools high school class that included an assignment to watch the ultra-violent “Django Unchained” is coming under intense scrutiny in an embattled school system.
The assignment, reported by the Birmingham News, is “in an effort to develop your understanding of the black history that surrounds you daily.”
The students of a Huffman High School English class were to view “Django Unchained” as part of Black History Month.
The Birmingham paper reported parents were unhappy.
“I hardly see what my child can get from this movie other than how horrible white people were,” one parent said.
The assignment, which requires students to compile their findings in a Power Point presentation or display board, also includes visiting the Civil Rights Museum, the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park.
The first item on the list, however, is to see Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated film. The students must produce “a ticket stub and summary of the movie,” including what “disturbing things” they learned about black history.
This assignment will be worth 300 points toward the students’ grades.
Huffman High School in Birmingham has an enrollment of 1,230 students, of which 99 percent are black and 72 percent come from an economically disadvantaged home.
The Birmingham City Schools system, which has an enrollment that is 98 percent black, was recently taken over by the Alabama Department of Education after the Birmingham Board of Education failed to pass a financial plan that would have cut millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs from a budget the city couldn’t pay.
State law in Alabama requires school districts to have one month’s operating expenses in a reserve account, the Birmingham News reported in June 2012.
The cash-strapped system only had $2 million of the $17 million required.
The London Telegraph earlier reported Tarantino launched into a rant during an interview in the United Kingdom and refused to answer questions about the movie’s violence.
The report said Tarantino “threatened the stunned presenter, who remained calm during the entire eight and half minute interview, that he was ‘shutting your butt down.'”
Movie actor Jamie Foxx, who appears in the film, told a “Saturday Night Live” audience, “I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?”
WND reported that the movie’s R rating was challenged because of the gore.
“This movie ends with two of the most violent scenes we’ve ever seen in more than 27 years of reviewing movies,” said founder and spokesman Ted Baehr, who is with the commission as well as MovieGuide.
“As countless research studies and recent events in Connecticut have shown, some young boys and men like to imitate the violence they see in movies, TV, and video games.”
According to Baehr, the movie includes images of blood erupting like lava from bodies when people are shot. Also, a slave is eaten by dogs and a man hanging upside down is threatened with castration.
To sign the commission’s petition to the MPAA, citizens can click here.
Baehr is the author of “How To Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul),” “Media-Wise Family” and co-author of “The Culture-Wise Family” and “Frodo vs. Harry: Understanding Visual Media and Its Impact on Our Lives.”
A premiere in Los Angeles was canceled because of the December school shooting in Newton, Conn.