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May 4, 2009 - 3:43pm

Student at Pembroke wonders if video should be disqualified from festival

posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, pembroke.

Derek Hagen submitted this video with the following message.

Okay I go to Pembroke Jr/Sr high school and me and my friends made a video entry to submit to the Digital Media Arts Festival and its run by BOCES and they had disqualified our video, only 16 days before the competition. I was just wondering if you could post the video and see if users agree or disagree that it should have been disqualified.

I immediately e-mailed Derek to find out why the video was disqualified. He has not responded.

This morning I spoke with Gary Mix, superintendent of the Pembroke Central School District. He wasn't aware of this particular video or why it was disqualified.

If you watch the video, you might pick up on three possible reasons: portrayal of a drunk student, the murder/suicide theme or the overall quality of the production.

Sharon Kaiser, coordinator, learning technologies at BOCES said she was aware of the video but didn't know it had been disqualified or why, she said. She said she wasn't handling that part of the festival.

Mix noted that Supreme Court cases have upheld a school's right to limit student expression in school sponsored activities. Reasons for limiting speech can include vulgarity, sexual innuendo and of course the school maintains an anti-alcohol and anti-drug stance.

"Over the years there has been a perception that students have unlimited free speech," Mix said, "but there are some constraints."

He added, "What I hope would not get lost in the discussion is that through the Media Arts Festival there is a tremendous opportunity to integrate across curriculum. We can include literature, social studies, arts and music and give students a chance to showcase their creativity. It's a tremendous opportunity for students."

Amy Vlack
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I can definitely see why the video was disqualified. I get the whole "Romeo and Juliet" theme but I don't feel that it is appropriate. With all of the violence in schools that we hear on the news and the problem in this nation with underage drinking, congratulations to BOCES for their decision. I agree completely.
Peter O'Brien
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So now we have to take Romeo and Juliet out of High School! Holy crap we are becoming a nation of pansies and I don't mean flowers. People need stop being offended and scared and start asserting themselves.
Cameron Coles
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If you watch the video, you might pick up on three possible reasons: portrayal of a drunk student, the murder/suicide theme or the overall quality of the production. I don't understand how this could have been disqualified from the Digital Media Arts Festival when I remember in 8th Grade at Pembroke that an Edgar Allen Poe story "the Tell-Tale Heart was required reading. In this story an old man was smothered to death underneath a mattress, dismembered and placed underneath the floorboards of his home. I understand that portrayal of a drunk student could be considered questionable material but the students should have first been asked to remove that piece of footage from the video, instead of being flat out disqualified. I really would love to find out what becomes of this video. If it gets to be re-entered into the Digital Media Arts Festival or not.
Kelly Hansen
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"watching Mindy and Brittanya do that physical challenge really turned me on." Girls competing in physical quests to win a date with Bret? "I'm so torn between all these girls." ... "I really dig a woman that can shoot two girls." ... The video is inappropriate. That is why it was disqualified. Romeo and Juliet meets the Bachelor crossed with Beverly Hillbillies with drunken teens and murder thrown in for some seasoning.
bud prevost
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Have you ever watched "Rock of Love" on VH1? Girls fighting over a guy?If not, it might help you understand this video a little better. While the quality is definitely not good, and the acting was at times bad, the idea was conveyed. It was an attempt to show how ridiculous these reality shows can be, while also showing how tragically relationships can turn out. These kids are definitely not Shakespeare thespians, but I give them credit for the effort! They took a challenge and met it. Let them enter their work. This is the USA afterall!
Andrew Erbell
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I believe they would be better served sending it to Leonard Pinth-Garnell for him to review. He would appreciate it for what it is.
Karen Miconi
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First of all Brett Michaels has been with so many women its GROSS. Why would any young girl want to portray herself as loose and willing to lower herself to win Brett Michaels?? What kind of an example are the students setting for the young boy in the video. I just think they could have found another show to depict. Something with substance, not sex and all that it implies. Just my opinion and nothing against the students
bud prevost
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Karen- that's why I think I get this. These kids are MOCKING the show. They are really doing nothing more than a bad imitation of the real thing. The young ladies with the accents I thought showed a little imagination, almost like I was in the trailer park. Anyway, IT IS truly disturbing to me that more people have an issue with this video than with the premise of the real show itself. The "Rock of Love" IS degrading to women, and I find it offensive, because it is real. Shows you what kind of crap your NOT missing on cable! lol
Karen Miconi
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Hey your right Bud. LOLLLLLLL I dont have cable.
Howard B. Owens
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Shows how clueless I am. I have no idea who Brett Michaels is or "Rock of Love." I just took it as a take off on reality TV combined with R&J. The trailer park reference -- ever see Trailer Park Boys? There's an element of the farce of that in this (not as well done, of course). I do think the kids are mocking more than praising, and just like Shakespeare, there is an element of a morality lesson in the play. I don't think the kids are condoning any of the actions, but trying to make a point. Whether they make it well or not is another issue. Also, I think it's great that Derek sent this along to a community publication for discussion. There may be a good lesson for students in this discussion, too.
Mariah Hagen
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first of all these students are just trying to connect romeo and juliet with life now a days. Second of all its not like this little boy hasnt seen all of this on tv shows before or video games. its on everything. there is no way to protect children from these things. these kids didnt intentionally make the video to get disqualified. they worked hard and their work should be submitted. it isnt fair to have them work hard and get nothing out of it. GROW A HEART. great job derek and sam!
C D
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I don't see why this was disqualified. The video is more mocking satire than anything else. A few people at BOCES (and this site) need to grow a pair, seriously. There isn't nearly enough reason to disqualify this. In another light, great job on the video.
Amelia Harrison
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Well first off i took part in this video, and it took alot of hard work and than for us to just be disqualified. OKay people look at the media! You can't open a book, turn on the tv or open a magazine and not see worse than what's in this video. If we can read Romeo and Juliet, (and if you didn't know, that whole book is based on SEX!) Than we should be able to post this video. So i think if we go to school and read about sex, well we can post a video about Rock Of Love.
bud prevost
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Amelia- just curious..what was the exact reason they give you for disqualification?
Beth Kinsley
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My guess is the gun even though it was clearly a toy gun. My daughter couldn't have a piece of her artwork displayed in the art show because there was a gun in it. The alcohol probably didn't help either. Amelia - we understand it was a spoof on Rock of Love and it's too bad that after all of your hard work it was disqualified. Did they give any clear instructions up front on what would be and would not be allowed? If it is of any consolation, I thought it was hilarious. It showed just how dumb that show is.
Peter O'Brien
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So no guns in school, can we still teach about war?
Amelia Harrison
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I know it was because of a student was drinking and the gun. Which is rediculious. Its just a contest. And like Peter siad we shouldn't be able to teach about war now because it deals with guns.
Gabor Deutsch
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I dont know what the rules were for this project. I will say that it was punishment to force myself to watch more then two minutes of this due to the technical quality. I think its fine for YouTube but if you get enough hits people will complain about the quality of the video. It is definately mild in subject compared to the programs on cable or movies and I think it should be expected for young adults today to mimick what they see or watch. I can see the side of the school to be allowed to reject anything they deem inappropriate and hopefully for a legitamit reason(s). It does have potential and I understood the raw message portrayed but in todays world it definately needs work. Congratulations to all that worked on it because you got it posted here !
Amelia Harrison
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I'm sorry we're not rich and can't buy expensive programs so our movie is a homemade movie. Please keep any opinionited comments to yourself.
Gabor Deutsch
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If you read everything I wrote you might understand that I was actually giving a compliment. If you cant deal with constructive critisism then how can you make things better ? You are right I shouldnt have wasted my time watching or commenting.
dan cherry
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The quality of the video was ok.I know it's real hard to format a video to look good online.The subject matter would offend many.I have seen way worse on you tube.
Amelia Harrison
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Thank you Dan. It tooks hours of editing this video. And if you have a Mac its alot earier and quality is better. But money gets the job done and it wasn't in our budget.
kolleen cassidy
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Don't get me started! This upsets me to the nth degree. Apparently, this was an english assignment to the kids to connect one of their works of literature that they have been learning about to today's society. This group chose Romeo and Juliet and connected it to a popular reality show on TV. The story of Romeo and Juliet itself, which is a REQUIRED reading, involves war, murder, suicide, sex, and betrayel. So now, when a group actually translates this into the modern day, they are getting disqualified for it because it is "tasteless"? All of the same themes are present in their reenactment, but apparently when they are written by high school students it doesn't look as classy? I am appaulled. You give our students an assignment, and they actually chose a clear story that we can all decipher from the video, and then disqualify them for making it relevant? A number of required readings in high school, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Edgar Allen Poe poems, entail extreme violence, such as murder, rape, suicide, discrimination, etc, but we are punishing a group of juniors who are putting a modern twist on an outdated story that revolve around the same themes? This WAS thier assignment, was it not? As a matter of fact, I find this video much LESS violent than the original Romeo and Juliet. Maybe some people should stop being hypocrites, as they are just following the standards set forth by the literature that they are reading. And I also praise the students for standing up for what they believe in when something they worked so hard on was just overlooked, ridiculed, and, ulitmately, shunned by the school systems. Shame on you!
Andrew Erbell
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If you don't want opinions about your video, why did you post it here asking for them? Per Derek; "I was just wondering if you could post the video and see if users agree or disagree that it should have been disqualified." Apparently all you really wanted was sympathy.
dan cherry
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Kolleen your right.In 6th grade they teach mythology.Mabe they would'nt let them use the beginning which wasn't original but i don't know.
C D
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Andrew, there's a difference between giving opinions about the meaning behind the video and giving opinions about the quality of the video. It's more than obvious that this issue has nothing to do with the quality of the video. Stop trying to be a smart ass.
dan cherry
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My son told me there is not freedom of speech at school.
Andrew Erbell
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I gave an opinion about the artistic value of the video early on. I also happen to know the the technical quality of the media submitted for this contest is part of the criteria for judging as well. Stating that it is difficult to watch is not an opinion, it is a fact. There are portions of the video that are almost impossible to focus on.
Gabor Deutsch
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I have to laff as I open my invitation to Pembroke junior/senior High class of 1984 High School reunion invitation. I would like to know what the parents of these individuals involved think or feel. I have never said that it shouldnt be allowed.
daniel cherry
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O i was under dan jr's name.I didn't notice lol.Andrew what is wrong with the video?Are you a pro?I know i'm not.It takes practice to get better at it.And mabe a 400$ to 3000$ camera and programs.If you don't like it then nobody made ya watch it did they?
Andrew Erbell
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"I was just wondering if you could post the video and see if users agree or disagree that it should have been disqualified." Kinda hard to answer that question without watching it first don't you think?
Mariah Hagen
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First off, I've seen some of the video's that did make into the Media Arts Festival.. One had a cartoon of a boy poisoning his bus driver. Another group got disqualified for vulgarity, but got to resubmit a new video. We were not given the opportunity to resubmit another, plus BOCES gave no clear rules for the videos. The reasons for getting disqualified were pretending to drink, and be drunk (key word: PRETENDING), and the gun, which was from the dollar store obviously fake. But I clearly remember reading a poem in the 8th grade, by Edgar Allen Poe, about a man cutting someone up and shoving him under the floor boards. And also, watching the movie and reading the book of Romeo and Juliet where they are clearly having sex and killing each other. The point of the video was to portray something of art and literature, I think it is a job well done. Nothing we haven't been taught, read, and watched right in school. And we completed the task that was given to us at hand, if poisoning and killing a bus driver is any different can someone let me know? Thanks.
Peter O'Brien
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Keep fighting the powers that been kids. Government schools need to be taken back by those with common sense from the teacher unions and the no dodgeball or score keeping crowds.
Amelia Harrison
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Please everyone just keep putting up good comments, maybe our video can make it back in! I just think its unfair that the judges gave another group a second chance and not us. So maybe if yall keep it up we can get in!
Jennifer Kahabka
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I am a parent of one the young ladies ACTING in this video, and want to applaud them on their hard work. They did a great job and they should be allowed to re-enter the media awards. Its so strange that schools can use literature (Romeo & Juliet, Edgar Allen Poe) that depict violence and sex yet they turn the kids video away for the same reasons? This was a modern day comparison of a literary work. Good job kids!! This is a learning experience for you all. I like the public forum, thank you Batavian for alowing the kids to be heard and to help them learn that there are many different opinions out there. Not everone is going to agree with them, thats okay, everyone is intitled to their own opinion. I like the fact that they are "questioning authority" in the proper way. Best of luck to you!!
Cameron Coles
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I really love all the hypocrisy that the schools are pumping out these days. They are allowed to teach about sex and violence, but when a student portrays it in a video and tries to enter it into a contest it gets struck down. The part that really gets me is the whole "portrayal of a drunk student" thing, when in ALL of Shakespeare's plays there are people getting drunk all over the place! And yet it is taught to us in schools. Also that "the overall quality of the production" was brought into question. What I'm getting from that is that the video was removed from the Festival basically because the people that run all that stuff thought it sucked. Which is radically unfair. As far as anything else in this video, I believe that this is a Supreme Court worthy issue. It doesn't matter if they're kids or not, they put a lot of hard work into this video and it deserves to be allowed into the Digital Media Arts Festival.
C D
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Supreme Court is kind of overdoing it. If the students and parents want to really pursue this on a legal standpoint, I would contact the ACLU for western New York and settle this in court.

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