Local News

Chapel Hill parent objects to 'Hunger Games' school field trip

Posted March 28, 2012

— The parent of a middle-school student in Chapel Hill is questioning the school's decision to allow a field trip to see the movie "The Hunger Games."

Eighth-graders at Smith Middle School will be heading Thursday morning to see the movie, which earned $155 million in its opening last weekend.

One parent sent an email to the school's principal on Tuesday, saying that he is not allowing his daughter to make the trip, because he is concerned about the level of violence in the movie.

The movie is based on author Suzanne Collins' novel about children in a post-apocalyptic world who fight to their deaths on live TV.

The students read the book in class as part of a curriculum on dystopian literature.

"We feel that is appropriate to have a forum to discuss that violence, to have an academic forum in which students can read this book and see this move and be asked to critique it, to analyze it," Smith Middle School Principal Philip Holmes said Wednesday.

Holmes said that it is the parents' choice whether to allow their children to go on any field trip.

He said parents received a permission slip a month ago to give them time to decide whether to allow their children to go see the movie, as well as time to ask the school any questions about the trip.

School officials said they've only received one formal complaint.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • piene2 Apr 2, 2012

    "piene2--- love the post!!


  • Ambygirl Mar 30, 2012

    piene2--- love the post!!

  • jprime Mar 30, 2012

    That movie was very watered down compared to the book. The book is gritty and intense. I bet the parent didnt pitch a fit because their kid was reading a violent book. Why is there so much more red tape for films?

  • piene2 Mar 29, 2012

    "Wrong reason to object to this "field trip". This is a fiction movie based on a fiction book, both of which were made for entertainment, not education.

    that applies to all of the great classics we studied in school. would you stop the study of Shakespeare, Twain, or Hemingway? Remember there is more to culture than The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and Mixed Martial Arts.

  • newsmonkey Mar 29, 2012

    How is this even news?

  • confused in johnston Mar 29, 2012

    Suzanne Collins' purpose in writing The Hunger Games was to reach a generation desensitized to violence and injustice because of graphic tv shows, movies, and video games. She wanted to write something that would shock the unshockable. She wanted to wake up her readers to the horrors that are possible and make us stop and actually "feel" something for a change. I think she did that. Most young teens have seen much worse. The movie is extremely tasteful and not graphic at all. I thought the literary merit of the book exceeded that of Lord of the Flies, and that's considered required reading in many schools. Parents have a choice that should be respected, but I salute the school for taking advantage of the opportunity to truly engage students in literary experiences.

  • HAL9000 Mar 29, 2012

    By the way, the younger kids who were invited to go had NOT read the book in class.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Mar 29, 2012

    I just hope those choosing not to let their kids go will leave it at that. Watering down everything so no one is offended is not a good thing.

    The book does not glorify violence, it shows the horror of the violence and of authoritarian gov't. Lots of good educational material in there. The field trip is a nice carrot to get them to do the reading 1st.

  • HAL9000 Mar 29, 2012

    I have 2 kids at Smith going to see the movie and I was very close NOT signing the permission slip for one of my kids. It is a PG-13 movie. One of my kids is 14, the other is 12. I would have had much less issue if they limited it to the 8th graders (13 and 14 year olds). But when they opened it to the younger grades, it made the issue more complicated. In hindsight, I hope Principle Holmes thinks about the policy of inviting 12 year olds to PG-13 movies, and then making the parents have to be the naysayers to hold the kids back - I chose not to do that. That's a bit dystopian in my mind for the government (school system) to pit the parents against the kids like that...just a bit, but that mild irony was not lost on my family.

  • dawgitall Mar 29, 2012

    smbiz- "The movie is about kids murdering other kids. I think the parents should have the option to opt out if they don't want their kids exposed to it. They should have had the same option with the book also."

    Parents always have the option for their child to opt out of instruction that they are uncomfortable with.

    Isn't Lord of the Flies about kids murdering kids as well? What about the works of Edgar Alan Poe? There's a lot of violence in American history as well. Maybe they should just not teach any literature or history in school.

    We could all just close our eyes and cover our ears while humming to block out all the bad things we might be exposed to. That's the ticket.