MODESTO -- After an hour of often passionate debate, the Modesto City Schools board approved seven films to be shown in specific high school classes and one film on Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank for viewing by eighth-graders.
The vote was 4-3 at Monday's meeting to approve the slate, with Trustees Cindy Marks, Amy Neumann and Nancy Cline dissenting.
Cline said she feared the films would add to "psychological desensitization" in teens and sought better options for students who opt to not see the films.
Marks and Neumann objected to the R-rated "Amadeus," winner of eight Academy Awards for its depiction of the troubled life of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Board President Rubén Villalobos, however, called the movie "transformative" for him.
The movie "Platoon," with its graphic depiction of the Vietnam War, also got a thumbs down from Marks as too violent. But Trustee Steve Grenbeaux, a Vietnam veteran, hailed the film as the most realistic depiction he's seen of that war.
The film will be used in a class, U.S. history through film, taught by Randy Wagner, who rose to defend his choices. Wagner said the class was created as a more engaging take on history to help raise Davis' enrollment. He said the films were chosen for content and excellence.
In the end, Sue Zwahlen, Cathy Hallinan, Villalobos and Grenbeaux voted for the list recommended by a committee of parents and teachers from every junior high and high school.
"I trust our teachers," Villalobos said.