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Hanover School Board votes not to ban 9/11 film from classroom, with stipulation

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Posted at 12:06 AM, Dec 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-11 12:14:57-05

HANOVER, Va. -- The Hanover School Board voted Tuesday night not to ban a controversial documentary about Sept. 11 being used by teachers in classrooms.

Searching For the Roots of 911 has been used as a teaching tool in Hanover classrooms for several years, but recently some parents and residents expressed concerns about the film.

"[It] indoctrinates American children in the tenets of Muslim religious beliefs in direct violation of the separation of church and state," Dale Gouldman, who asked the board to ban the film, said.

The discussion caused the school board to take a look at its policies governing controversial materials.

At a previous meeting, the board voted to create a list of controversial books and films that parents had raised concerns about in the past, including the documentary.

Also on the list, The Color Purple, Thou Shalt Not Dump the Skater Dude, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Well, and So Far From the Bamboo Grove.

If teachers want to use those books or film in the future, they must receive permission from their principal and inform parents prior to using the material in their classroom.

Several parents and students spoke up at Tuesday's board meeting stating their concerns with the list.

"The list of controversial materials will cause teachers to lose desire to give lessons on subjects anyone would consider controversial," Paul Franklin, a student, said.

The board is also considering revising its controversial materials policy to improve school communication between teachers and parents.

At Tuesday's board meeting, members heard about proposed language changes to the current policy.

It will now consider making sure that teachers inform parents ahead of time, either through letters or a syllabus, if they're going to use any potentially controversial materials.

We checked with other school localities about their policies concerning controversial materials.

Henrico County and Richmond do not require teachers to inform parents about potentially controversial materials. Chesterfield County asks teachers to inform parents about it on their syllabuses.