Gangs of New York | Letter-Response

(Last Updated On: September 10, 2014)

We are posting this letter and our response to provide some insight into why we have developed the Movies in the Classroom section and how we intend the material to be used. We hope that anyone else who has had similar concerns will read the following letters for more information regarding this section.

ClassBrain Visitor:

I’m not sure why you would have posted a lesson plan for high schoolers on the movie, “Gangs of New York”???? As a mother….I went into the movie review with the description of all the sex and nudity in this movie. I was shocked and would never want my children, high school or otherwise, to have anything to do with this movie? I’m confused why you would even list it ??!!
Please reply.
Mrs. Marie A.

ClassBrain Response:

Dear Mrs. Marie A.,

First and foremost we thank you for your letter and concern as a parent. We stress that it is ultimately up to you to decide the level of exposure to controversial or objectionable movies for your own children. We include the “kids-in-mind” rating system as a way for parents to gauge the level of appropriateness of a film for children viewers. ClassBrain’s “Movies in the Classroom” section, however, is aimed at an audience of teachers and parents and includes films from animation through mature productions. Movies such as Gangs of New York and Schindler’s List are included for the purpose of allowing our parent and teacher patrons the resources to instruct students on specific scenes consisting of historically accurate situations. We leave it up to the teachers to decide if they will show segments of the film or the entire film in their classrooms. They also have the option of using the links we provide to view the trailers only, so they can concentrate on the material covered in the lesson plans instead of the actual movie. The lesson plans include their own supplemental resources aside from the film and can be used independently.

We have labeled the grade level “9-12 grade and college” not only because there are ninth grade performing arts students studying films such as these, but also because some high school students and most college students are over 17 years of age and can view “R” rated movies. High School and college students across the country are currently viewing films such as Glory,Saving Private Ryan, and Roots with the same ratings as Gangs of New York because they have some controversial and objectionable material.

If we were to eliminate every movie deemed to have something objectionable in it, we would lose the use of relevant parts as tools for learning from events that actually happened. If we were to eliminate all materials with questionable content, we would then have to eliminate television, radio, books, and even the day-to-day situations where our children are confronted by violence everyday. This is not possible and so we encourage teachers and parents to use the material as they see fit, extracting relevant information for the purpose of educating their students, not glorifying the mature aspects of the films.

Again, we stress in the Objective section of the Gangs of New York lesson plan, that this film is not recommended for younger viewers. We intend it to be used for a mature student audience. We encourage you to review lesson plans such as the Sociology lesson for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the endangered species lesson for The Wild Thornberry’s, “Ecology and Harry Potter”, or the “Tunnels of Learning” lesson plan for the movie Antz if you are searching for resources for children. As teachers tailor their curriculum to cover certain requirements for their students, we are certain that you will find many educational resources at that meet your needs or the needs of your children. As previously stated, only you can decide the appropriate level of exposure for your own children.


ClassBrain, Inc.

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