A cartoon type video featuring two owls talking about fear and being afraid from everything to being embarrassed, to parents fighting, to physical and sexual abuse was shown to some Greenwich Schools remote learning 2nd graders.
On Monday, Greenwich Schools Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones sent an email to remote school 2nd grade families in Ms Goodwin’s and Ms Hanzlik’s classrooms about the video.
Dr. Jones notes that the video was shared during a lesson on social and emotional learning.
“Around the midway point in the video there is reference to situations in which children may become afraid, including being afraid of abuse, both physical and sexual,” she wrote. “The content at this point in the video was not appropriate for our GPS second grade classrooms.”
Jones explained that the content was instead likely meant for a private therapy session for children who have experienced trauma.
Greenwich Schools parent Carl Higbie, who was relieved that his second grader was not shown the video, said numerous “disgusted” parents had contacted him about it.
He said he would not rest until the person responsible was fired.
“That somebody thought this video was acceptable for second graders was abhorrent,” he said, adding that he would push for a full investigation.
The description of the video says, “All children are normalscared, but what do children who are embarrassedscared or painfulscared need?”
It explains that The Alfred Jr. & Shadow – A Short Story about Being Scared was an educational film for children aged 6-14 years. The children learn about different ways of being scared, what they need when they are scared, and suggestions for actions. Adults also get some tips on how to meet a child who is scared.
The film was produced in collaboration with the Council for Mental Health in Norway.
Dr. Jones said that due to the nature of the video, the district notified the Dept of Children and Families (DCF), which they do whenever they believe students may have been exposed to material or situations that may warrant a follow-up.
Also, Jones wrote, that the district’s psychology staff were making time available to answer any questions parents or guardians may have, including how to discuss the video with their child.
In addition, she said staff were offering a student session for those parents who would like more support and that a subsequent email would be sent with those dates and times shortly.
Lastly she apologized for any questions or concerns this may have raised for children.