NPFC member remarks as delivered to NUSD Board on 6/3/2003 in regards to "That's a Family"
I am Pam McCart, a registered nurse, former Family Life educator, and a member of NPFC.
First, I want to ask why is there no segment on a nuclear family --- especially given the video's own use of the "windows and mirrors" metaphors? To help explain those metaphors, the Guidebook includes this quote on page 5: "When someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequililbrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing there." Yet, there is no segment featuring a nuclear family --- do they not deserve a mirror to see themselves in and a window for others to look through? This question was posed to representatives of the film's producers in January. They replied that there was no need to feature a nuclear family because it is so well depicted elsewhere. That seems much less than even-handed when the Guidebook cover letter itself reports that "… only 28% of homes today consist of a married husband and wife who are raising their biological children." Shouldn't that minority, then, be featured too? There seemed to be enough time, considering the 3-minute introduction and over 2 minutes of credits and music at the end.
Second, here is a quote from General Collin Powell that seems relevant: "Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic … sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two - racial and sexual orientation - is a convenient but invalid argument."
Third, in conversations with many, many people in our community, a common theme has emerged. Many are opposed to some of the content of "That's A Family as inappropriate material for 10 year olds. And some people - including parents, grandparents, teachers, school staff, businessmen & business women have told me they are afraid to speak publicly or even sign a petition even though it represents their opinion. They are concerned about the loss of jobs, impact on their businesses, alienation within the school or broader community, the workplace, their neighborhoods or social settings.
We have done our best to help you, the Board, and others understand the legitimate and reasonable concerns of many Novato residents. At least now you can make an informed decision.
Should you decide to approve this video, at least protect yourselves and all Novato families by requiring full disclosure to each 5th Grade parent through an opt in letter which encloses the 5-two-sided pages of Guidebook Handouts. Here are some copies printed without the crossword puzzle since we understand it will not be used. Such letters would be the only way for all to have a clear conscience about any consenting parent's informed decision. As before, NPFC will gladly pay the expenses of such mailings. We request, however, that you not approve this video.