Slavery Film Too Graphic for Fourth Graders: Parents

"Middle Passage" depicts atrocities that occurred on slave ship sailing from Africa to New World

By Alex Perez
|  Monday, Feb 21, 2011  |  Updated 11:54 PM CDT
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Film depicts atrocities that occurred on slave ship sailing from <a title=Africa to New World." />

Film depicts atrocities that occurred on slave ship sailing from Africa to New World.

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Several parents in North Suburban Winnetka say a film shown to their fourth grade children is too intense for students that age.

The children in at least one class at Greeley School were shown "The Middle Passage," a film about the atrocities that occur on board a slave ship traveling from Africa to the New World.

"Daddy, it's too horrific.  It's too bad to even talk about,'" Patrick Livney recalled his daughter telling him.  Pressing her, he said his daughter described scenes of people being eaten by sharks or being raped.

"I felt horrible and from that time until today I've had little sleep and [have been] researching Middle Passage and taking a look at film clips, and it is the worst of humanity," said Livney.

The district's interim co-superintendent, Mark Friedman, said he met with some upset parents on Friday and confirmed that the school is looking into the matter.

"We’re working ourselves through this and we’ll respond," Friedman said, according to TribLocal Winntka.  There are teachers we have to talk to."

Administrators have scheduled a meeting for Tuesday morning.  They had off Monday in honor of Presidents' Day.

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