More crazy tort cases from the US… Apparently a 14 year old girl is suing the Chicago Board of Education for emotional distress suffered when her class was shown the film Brokeback Mountain. I presume the emotional distress arose because of the film’s portrayal of a closet homosexual relationship between two cowboys. She purportedly seeks damages of $500,000.
What exactly is so distressing about the revelation that cowboys may have a covert homosexual relationship? I can understand that girl’s guardians may have wished to have had a say in whether she watched the film. Further, they may not have wished her to learn about homosexuality from a film. But I can’t see how this gives her an entitlement to half a million bucks.
I was trying to think of a topic about which I would feel outraged if a school teacher exposed my child to it without my consent. I think if a school showed a film with graphic violence to my teenage daughter, for example, I would want a say in it. But I don’t think suing the school would be the answer. I would raise my concerns with the school, and say that I thought it was inappropriate. I would also counsel my daughter and encourage her to talk about anything she found disturbing or worrying. Surely that’s all that a guardian or parent needs to do? Suing for half a million is really over the top.
Someone has pointed out that Brokeback Mountain shouldn’t be shown in schools because it is rated R. This is a very good point. So the teacher certainly should not have been showing the film to students under the age of 18. But still…$500,000 for emotional distress?
I wonder if you could sue the school for breaching the film classification recommendations – sounds to me like that’s a more productive way to go to prevent this sort of thing in the future.