Updated: ‘Hidden Figures’ Field Trip Is Back On After Parents Write Letter

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The following letter was sent to Dr. Judith White, in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of Prince George’s County Public Schools, in response to a decision not to approve a field trip to see the film Hidden Figures.

UPDATE: After additional research by the Department of Curriculum and Research, Dr. White has approved this film for PGCPS students in grades 4-12.

Dear Dr. White,

We are parents of fourth graders at Greenbelt Elementary School. We were dismayed to learn that our children’s field trip to see the movie Hidden Figures was canceled because your office has deemed the movie inappropriate for fourth grade students, and we urge you to reconsider.

We are sure you’re aware that the movie features the true story of African-American women who worked on the first moon landing. You may not be aware that the movie has been a very popular choice for teachers in upper elementary grades who want to inform and inspire their students. Schools around the country, including some in St. Louis, MO, Seattle, WA, and Nashville, TN have arranged showings of the movie for their fourth graders. There is a great variety of background information and sample lesson plans available to teachers who wish to make the outing more than just a trip to the movies. The parent-run media information site Common Sense Media, which we have found to be fair and also quite conservative in their age recommendations, suggests the movie is appropriate for ages 10 and up.

The Greenbelt Elementary School field trip was nearly ideal. Students would be able to walk from their school to an historic theater in town, encouraging healthful habits in addition to the inspiring content of the film. Women engineers from NASA were going to be on hand to answer student’s questions after the movie. Parents who object to the film have the option, as they have with every field trip, to refuse to give permission for their child to participate. Given the County’s push for students who are college and career ready, especially in STEM fields, we hope you will reconsider your decision and allow the field trip to go on as planned.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Thorson and Rich Renomeron

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary students Wesley Thorson Renomeron (4th grade) and Aaron Thorson Renomeron (2nd Grade)

Christina Howland

Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Technology Program coordinator at DuVal HS, Guardian of Greenbelt Elementary School student Yanick Dumena (4th grade)

Gina Wesley and Jeffrey Hunt

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary students Aeryn Wesley-Hunt (4th grade) and Nathaniel Wesley-Hunt (1st Grade)

Jackie Cantwell and Bill Cantwell

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Emma Cantwell (4th grade)

Natalie Bailey and Dave Eubanks

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Noah Eubanks (4th grade)

Aaron Marcavitch and Andrea Marcavitch

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School students Beatrice (4th grade) and Graham (1st grade)

Amanda and John Larsen 

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary student Raphael Larsen (4th grade)

Norma Sanchez

Parent of Greenbelt Elementary School student Joseph Sanchez (4th grade)

Nissa N. Copemann

Parent of Greenbelt Elementary School student Daniel D. Copemann (4th grade)

Godbole and S. Chaudhuri

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Sahana Chaudhuri (4th Grade)

Other members of the Greenbelt Elementary School community who support our request:

Stephenie Arcido

Third Grade Teacher, Greenbelt Elementary School

Johanna and Nicholas Moore

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School students Kaleb(5th), Kira (3rd), and Mia (K) Moore

Oliver Gayken and Caitlin McGrath

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School students Iris (3rd grade) and Oliver (1st grade) Gayken

Sara and Errol Mazursky

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Elsa Mazursky (2nd grade)

Christine Doran and Bernard Kelly

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Rowan Kelly (2nd grade)

Keeia Richards

Parent of a Greenbelt Elementary School 5th grader

Andrea and Ryan McClelland

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School students Evan (2nd grade) and Dean (Kindergarten)

Cara and Paul Leisnham

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Max (Kindergarten)

Fatima Cardoso-Gendreau and Keith Gendreau

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Emily (2nd grade)

Alison and Karl Gary

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School student Emerson (2nd grade)

Ole and Ingrid Hass

Parents of Greenbelt Elementary School students Felix (5th grade) and Cecilia (2nd grade)

Candice Shipp

Parent of Greenbelt Elementary School student Anthony (Second Grade)

7 thoughts on “Updated: ‘Hidden Figures’ Field Trip Is Back On After Parents Write Letter

  1. Beth McCracken-Harness says:

    I was so surprised to hear that this movie trip was blocked. I saw the film and don’t remember anything objectionable. But did see a lot that would be really good for our kids to see.

    Like

  2. Katie Eckenrode says:

    What a shame! Did they indicate what they felt was inappropriate? I’d be interested in hearing their defense of the decision to cancel.

    Like

  3. madhatternalice says:

    Yeah! I mean, why even bother to send them to school in the first place?

    If you can’t understand why it’s important for children to see that positive values extend beyond the end of their own driveway, perhaps you should join your children in class.

    Like

    • Prince Georges County Human Parent says:

      I am simply saying that one shouldn’t assume that children aren’t already exposed to ideas from their parents and neighbors and teachers already that they can excel – regardless of their race or gender. It is a great movie but they don’t need to take time from school to go to the movie to learn that. Also, many of their parents probably did what the parents on this list did – they took their children to see it. Your point is that we should assume that other parents (based on their race perhaps, or class) won’t supplement classwork with their own time and effort. They will. We should have more confidence in other parents. I want my child in school (a public school) not at a movie, learning and being exposed to the ideas of other children, adults, teachers, and volunteers. They will be inspired in everyday life as much as by a movie. It isn’t that deep and you all are making way to much out of it.

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  4. L Morrow says:

    Thank you to the parents and community members for advocating on behalf of their students, and to PGCPS for reconsidering this decision. When we can all work towards a common purpose, our students are the ones who will benefit.

    Like

  5. Queen Kalua says:

    I am elated to see parents rising to the occasion! Good for you! I hope they reconsider because an awesome movie it was indeed. Good luck.

    Like

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