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Parents say CCSD teacher showed an anti-abortion performance video in sixth grade class, ‘traumatizing’ students

Parents say video was inappropriate .
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:56 PM PDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 3:18 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Clark County School District parents are outraged after they said their students’ teacher showed an anti-abortion video in her classroom. Parents said the video showed a dramatized reenactment of the abortion procedure by a faith-based performance group.

The YouTube video parents referred to showed a group of young performers on-stage, pretending to be an unborn fetus; at one point writhing and screaming in pain while pretending to be terminated by a doctor.

Sixth graders told their parents that their teacher showed them the disturbing content in their reading class at Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts, a magnet school in Henderson.

The parents said that their students “are now traumatized,” and parents are now reaching out to district employees, demanding answers.

“He’s just so stressed and upset and uptight about it,” said Haleigh Isbill, one of the parents of a 12-year-old. “He was so bothered, that like, he doesn’t even want to be in the same room when we talked about what happened.”

Isbill said “she cannot express just how upset she is,” because she said the content was inappropriate for the classroom.

“It’s not an indictment on her beliefs even, it’s, don’t show that to our babies. That’s inappropriate for public school,” said Isbill.

On Monday, parents said the video was so disturbing, it would have even required a trigger warning for adults.

In an email to the teacher, Isbill wrote, “As a parent of a child in your care, I was horrified to find out that you are showing him videos about your religious and political anti-choice agenda.”

Thurman White mother Elaine Edmiston said her 12-year-old told her about it as soon as they got in the car when she picked them up from school Thursday.

“They talked about this weird video they saw in reading class about abortion, and automatically I was like, ‘Wait what? That’s odd.’ And they said it was about a readers theater assignment,” said Edmiston.

The video in question has nearly 100,000 views on YouTube. Parents worked to describe the video.

Isbill said, “The way the doctor was referred to as, ‘Oh no not that guy again, we don’t like him! We don’t feel safe, but we know you’ll love us anyway, you’ll take care of us.’ And then, ‘Oh, it’s that doctor -- what is he doing, mommy!?’ and then they all started screaming, making faces.”

“Like, it burns, it burns!” said Edmiston.

“Like, holding their faces and like bending over and just really emotionally getting into this, writhing, and it’s super disturbing as an adult,” said Isbill. “They’re not even teens yet.”

She said their students are in different classes, but said they both saw the video.

“They have the same teacher for reading, two different periods. But she gave them the same curriculum in both classes, they both watched the video. They both saw it,” said the parents.

Isbill said she is only speaking to the media because she is concerned for other families, and hopes it does not happen again. She is concerned about the bigger picture.

“How many kids went home and didn’t talk to their parents about it, and didn’t say anything, because maybe, they just thought it was normal. because it was presented, and it was presented by an authority figure,” said Isbill.

Edmiston said the timing of it is particularly troubling, as students continue to deal with mental health impacts from the pandemic shutdowns.

“To show the part of the video where the children are actually pretending to be a fetus or a baby and they’re screaming about pain, as if, it’s heart wrenching, as if they’re being tortured. And they’re watching children do this? Especially during a year when we’re just trying to get back on our feet after being home last year,” said Edmiston.

Both parents said their kids said the teacher did not present any other sides of the argument regarding abortion.

Regardless, they said they also feel abortion shouldn’t have been brought up to begin with, in a sixth grade reading class.

FOX5 reached out to the school district last Friday, and since then we have made more attempts to obtain a response from them. While the school district didn’t respond before FOX5′s story was published, CCSD responded on Wednesday stating that they could not discuss personnel matters.

The two concerned mothers said they also have yet to receive a response from the teacher or the superintendent. They said they emailed them, as well as the principal, on Friday.

In that email, Isbill wrote, “We are a multifaith household and we do not appreciate your input.”

The Thurman White principal sent the following message to parents via email:

FOX5 will update the story with more details as we learn them.