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Florida Lawmakers Want To Require Screenings Of Conservative Film In Schools

Florida students may soon be required to attend a screening of America, Imagine a World Without Her unless they get a note from a parent.

Posted on January 20, 2015, at 4:29 p.m. ET

Florida students would be required to attend screenings of the widely panned conservative film America, Imagine a World Without Her under twin bills proposed by state lawmakers.

Writer/director John Sullivan, along with actors Janitta Swain, John Koopman, Caroline Granger, Don Taylor and writer/director Dinesh D'Souza attend the premiere of film at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Via Getty Images

Writer/director John Sullivan, along with actors Janitta Swain, John Koopman, Caroline Granger, Don Taylor and writer/director Dinesh D'Souza attend the premiere of film at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live.

The bills, which were introduced by state Sen. Alan Hayes and state Rep. Neil Combee, both Republicans, would apply to all 8th- and 11th-grade students in Florida.

If approved, all school districts in Florida would have to ensure that their middle and high schools hold a screening of the film for 8th- and 11th-graders every year. Each student would be required to attend unless his or her parent requests in writing that they be exempt.

Hays told The News-Press that the bills are a way for the state legislature to combat what he feels is a negative bias against America in the public school system. He did not return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

"Frankly, it's embarrassing that we allow these lies to be taught in our school system," Hays told the newspaper. "Unfortunately, our parents and our school board members have not kept up with the misrepresentation of American history that is being perpetrated in our school system, and this movie gives a totally different view."

However, one teacher asked about the proposal by The News Press said he disagrees that there is an anti-American bias in the curriculum. Tom Faasse said if the bill passes he would want to show his students other films too.

"We teach our kids to look at all perspectives. Each war has winners and losers," he said.

America, which was released last year, is the work of conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. The film seeks to dispel what it claims are negative, liberal biases against America in society by imagining what would happen if the country was never founded.

Critics eviscerated the film — which holds an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — as a poorly crafted piece of propaganda.

"Graced with a hilariously definitive title, America is astonishingly facile, a film comprised entirely of straw man arguments," David Ehrlich of The AV Club wrote.

Hays told The News Press that he hopes to screen the film for his fellow lawmakers before the legislative session starts in March.

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