There's a time, place for all stories to be told
Can children be too young to learn the reality of slavery?
We think they can.
Hollywood's entertainment industry, one of the most liberal industries in America and the world, has a system of movie ratings. While those ratings may grow more and more liberal as the years pass, there are still constants in how movies are rated.
Normally, profane language and nudity drive a movie from PG or PG-13 to an R rating. But if a movie is especially full of violence, that movie also earns an R rating. In America, children under the age of 17 are not supposed to watch R rated movies without an adult present.
The Greene County Democrat's publication on Black History Month was not entirely horrid. There were pages of black American inventors. And in fact, Sen. Hank Sanders wrote a piece for the publication on slavery.
There were, however, explicit parts of the publication that children who can't read shouldn't have been given to read, though.
That leads to the question of young people and newspapers, in general. Most papers report crimes, including gruesome kinds of crime such as rape.
Newspapers can have a wonderful role in classrooms – from elementary to high school. Many newspapers around the nation, including this one, participate in a program called "Newspapers In Education." That program is designed to use hometown papers to educate students on currents events from their communities and from around the world.
The NIE program is not effective if the papers are given to students and then sent home. Teachers play an integral role in how those newspapers are used. In the case of the black history publication distributed to Selma and Dallas County students, it appears some of the teachers were not involved in using those papers for proper educational use.
Teachers wouldn't assign homework to kindergarten students where an explicit rape were described in pictures. Even if rape is a reality of life, just like slavery was a reality of life, there is a time and place for everything.
We entrust our children to the public schools systems. We should be able to trust that they have our children's concerns at heart.