Mexican teacher fired for showing Milk to students
Cecila HernÃ¡ndez screened the Harvey Milk biopic in class, the story of the first gay American elected to public office
A middle-school teacher in Mexico has lost her job after screening pro-gay film Milk to her students.
Cecilia HernÃ¡ndez, a new civics teacher at Lomas Hill School in Cuajimalpa, was addressing sexual orientation and human rights in class as part of the curriculum.
Milk tells the story of Harvey Milk – the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States in 1977. In 1978, he was assassinated and became a gay hero.
The film, which won Sean Penn the best actor award at the Academy Awards, was rated R by the Motion Pictures Association of America.
HernÃ¡ndez showed the first half hour of the film to her 7th and 8th graders, and said she included the screening in her approved lesson plan and heard no objections.
According to Mexican news website Procesco, HernÃ¡ndez claims to have selected the film after offering her students other options and it was them to have voted to watch Milk as it was based on a true story.
She added, before the movie played, there could be scenes in the movie that could make them uncomfortable.
A day after HernÃ¡ndez showed the short clip, two security guards took her to the principal’s office and she was told she was fired.
In an email, Principal Annette Muench de Labardini said: ‘The lack of tact and the disrespect you have shown students today is unforgivable.
‘I consider it disrespect towards myself as well, since your lesson plan did not say you were showing this filth.’
While HernÃ¡ndez says she does not want her job back, she has made a complaint to the national discrimination board.
When Milk was first released in 2008, several countries refused to show the film.
In Samoa, the Censorship Board banned the film from distribution, saying it was ‘trying to promote the human rights of gays’ and ‘inappropriate and contradictory to Christian beliefs and Samoan culture’.