YAKIMA, Wash. — A high school club that was barred from viewing “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s Oscar-nominated documentary on global warming, has now gotten the green light following approval by a review panel.
The screening by the Environmental Club at Eisenhower High School was put on hold in mid-January by Principal Stacey Locke, who said it first had to be reviewed by an instructional materials committee.
The panel of teachers, administrators and parents was next scheduled to meet Feb. 7, but the meeting date was moved up to Jan. 30 and recommended approval.
Locke referred questions to Deputy School Superintendent Jack Irion.
“We have a process in place, and we utilize this process,” Irion said. “That’s what this was about, is process.”
Club president Jos Vazquez, 18, said he respected and admired Locke but believed the principal’s initial action was unwarranted.
“I’m pleased that we didn’t have to wait until Feb. 7,” Vazquez said. “I feel that maybe the administration just wanted to get it over with. I guess all that attention that we were receiving is kind of overwhelming.”
The flap was the second in the state over the film, which has been nominated for Oscars for best documentary feature and best original song. Last week the Federal Way School Board in the suburbs between Seattle and Tacoma lifted a two-week moratorium on showing the film in class.
Federal Way board members had imposed the temporary moratorium on showings of the film as they awaited a report from the district superintendent on whether teachers were following district policies that require them to get films approved by their principals, and in the case of controversial materials, point out bias and present an opposing view.
Teachers at three high schools had shown parts of the film with other points of view, but did not get written approval from principals beforehand, district Superintendent Tom Murphy told the board on Jan. 23.
The controversy began after the district distributed a newsletter that notified teachers about free copies of the film for use in classrooms. Some parents complained.