Parents’ anger as pupils are shown violent movie during Spanish lesson

Parents have reacted with fury after their children were shown a movie which contained violent scenes, during a Spanish lesson. Barton Court Grammar School has been criticised for showing pupils the Spanish Oscar winning film Pan’s Labyrinth without seeking the consent of parents first. While the movie has a 15 rating, some pupils in the class were only 14.

In one scene, often described as the most brutal in movie history, the main character in the movie, Captain Vidal, bashes a man in the face with the bottom of a wine bottle. Mums and dads whose children attend the school in Kent said they were not happy at all about the decision to screen it.

One mother said that her son was only 14, but she would not be happy about it even if he was 15. She added that she had not watched the movie herself, but had read reviews which said that it was not suitable for children or teenagers, but it contained the “most violent scene of all time”.


She said that she did not watch violent films and did not believe her child should be watching them either. Meanwhile, another mum, Bridget Tann, said she believed that it should not be shown in lessons, but could be shown in lunch times for children whose parents opted in. She added that watching scenes of torture and graphic violence could cause distress, and that she would be complaining to the school.

The school is yet to comment on the issue. However, the British Board of Film Classification said that while its ratings only applied when watching a film in a licensed cinema, that guidance to teachers advised that pupils should be within the year of the certified age, or that there should be a serious education purpose to showing them the movie. Even then, it said, parental consent should be sought before the movie is screened for the class.

Judith is a qualified journalist who has worked in both the UK and the US, specialising in writing about politics, education and health.