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Autistic Pupil, 13, Left ‘Terrified’ By Scene From 15-Rated Film Psycho Shown In Music Lesson

April 23, 2013

Readers, I have to say, I agree with the mother here. Personally I wouldn’t want to show any scene from a 15-rated film to any 13 year old.

In this case, at least, permission could have been taken so that the mother could have explained the situation to her child in a way he would not have found distressing before he was put through this very negative experience.

I, like the mother, am pleased that the school will not use that scene in the lesson again. Surely the same concept can be explained to children just as clearly using any scene from an age-appropriate film, anyway.

A 13-year-old autistic boy was left traumatised after seeing the shower murder scene from the film Psycho at his school, says his mother.


Douglas Parr attends mainstream classes at Comberton Village College in Cambridgeshire.


His mother Kate Bourne said no consent was requested from parents for the 15-certificate film to be shown and the scene had made her son sick.


Mrs Bourne has accepted an apology from the teacher.


The school said it was “very regrettable” that the pupil found the film distressing and added it was “reviewing this particular scheme of work”.


The famous scene from the 1960 Hitchcock film shows Anthony Perkins, as the troubled Norman Bates, stabbing Janet Leigh through a shower curtain.

‘Sensitive to noises’

In the email to Mrs Bourne, the teacher said the clip had been used to illustrate how music was integral to the mood of a film – but it would not be used again.


Mrs Bourne said: “Dougie came flying through the door after school on Monday saying, ‘I had to watch the bloody shower scene from Psycho in music, today’.”


He then told her he had been sick.


“Dougie is quite sensitive to noises, so even if his teachers had just played the soundtrack it might have distressed him,” Mrs Bourne said.


Douglas’s teaching assistant had made a note in his school diary – which details work the pupils have done during the day – informing his mother that he had been upset by a film.


She had removed him from the classroom and he had been sick, the note said.


Mrs Bourne emailed the school, saying: “I cannot for the life of me understand why this has been shown.


“The film carries a certification of 15 years. Dougie is 13.

Teacher training

“This is the most violent and vicious scene in the entire film and is not a suitable scene to be shown to children in school.”


Mrs Bourne said Douglas was unable to eat and was terrified of going to bed on Monday night.


She added: “I’m happy to accept the teacher’s apology and delighted that he said he would change his teaching plan and not use the film again.


“But, basically it’s a certificate-15 film being shown to 13-year-olds and you should use your loaf and get consent before showing it.”


Peter Law, one of the school’s head teachers, said: “The scene was explained to pupils before being shown, and afterwards it was evaluated to look particularly at how the music was integral to the mood.


“This particular lesson is one that the teacher was first shown on a music teacher training course over a decade ago, and has been used many times with different classes.


“It is very regrettable that a pupil found this distressing, and a full apology and explanation has been given to the parent who highlighted this concern and will also be made to the pupil.


“We are now reviewing this particular scheme of work to ensure that we can continue to offer stimulating and challenging lessons without potentially causing upset to any pupils.”

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