August 24, 1995 in City

School Board Unplugs Date-Rape Video ‘Mtv Language’ Not Appropriate, Even If Topic Is, Board Members Say

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer
 

Off-color slang on a videotape about date rape proved too much for the Spokane School Board.

The board approved a long list of sex education videotapes, booklets and articles Wednesday, but did not endorse a tape called “Playing the Game.”

The video, proposed for high school juniors and seniors, contained language board members called inappropriate.

“It’s like MTV language,” said board President Rob Fukai. “The issue of date rape has to be discussed, but it can be done with more appropriate language.”

In the 15-minute video, which uses a popular Phil Collins song as opening music, actors portray college students involved in a date rape.

A female student and a male student dance and drink together at a fraternity party, then go up to his room, where he forces her to have sex.

Later, the woman and man tell friends different versions of what happened. Both believe they are telling the truth.

The video ends with printed words scrolling on the screen that point out both students’ perceptions of what happened would “meet most legal definitions of rape.”

The 1992 video was meant for a college audience, but “quite a few” high schools use it, said Ted Fitch, sales manager with Intermedia Inc., the video’s Seattle distributor.

Bleeping out the offending words is possible, but would probably be expensive, Fitch said.

Carol Murphy, District 81 health services coordinator, said the video contains an important message about the miscommunication that leads to date rape.

She said she winced when she heard the language, particularly when the actors use “God” as an expletive.

“But I know that language is common. I know drinking is common. It is within that context that rape and misunderstanding occurs,” she said.

Murphy will help develop ways for classes to discuss date rape without the videotape.

Sex-ed materials go through a long approval process in District 81. First, district officials select materials that meet teaching objectives.

Then a citizens committee reviews them and sends them to the school board. The citizens group and the board may nix any material that doesn’t meet community standards.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved 53 sex-ed items, ranging from a booklet on genital warts to a set of models of fetal development.

Board members said they felt overwhelmed by the long list, which included a dozen videotapes.

“I’ve never watched as many videos in such a short timespan,” said board member Carol Wendle.

“And learned so much,” added board member Terrie Beaudreau.

“My kids are disappointed because now I know all this,” said board member Nancy Fike.

District administrators promised that in the future they will bring sex-ed items to the board a few at a time. , DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: THE APPROVAL PROCESS Sex-ed materials go through a long approval process in District 81: First, district officials select materials that meet teaching objectives. Next, a citizens committee reviews them and sends them to the school board. Finally, the citizens group and the board may nix any material that doesn’t meet community standards.

This sidebar appeared with the story: THE APPROVAL PROCESS Sex-ed materials go through a long approval process in District 81: First, district officials select materials that meet teaching objectives. Next, a citizens committee reviews them and sends them to the school board. Finally, the citizens group and the board may nix any material that doesn’t meet community standards.

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