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Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 18:45 GMT


Education

School labels South Park 'filth'

"Filth of a most unsavoury nature," according to school

A public school is urging parents to stop their children watching the late-night cartoon, South Park, saying it is "filth".


Radio 1's Newsbeat reports on the school that wants South Park to be out of bounds
The King's School in Ely, Cambridgeshire, has written to parents telling them that the school-based cartoon is "filth of a most unsavoury nature" and should not be watched by younger children.

The school's development director, Martin Horrox, says that the show is "rude the whole way through" and its "toilet humour" is being imitated by pupils. As such the school has advised parents that they might want to protect their children from its adverse influence.


[ image:
"Toilet humour" imitated
In a newsletter sent to parents, the school warned that South Park "contains obscenities, swearing, lavatorial actions and filth of a most unsavoury nature. Unfortunately it is widely admired by many children, particularly boys, in Years 7 and 8 (ages 11-12). This cannot be right".

The newsletter urges parents that they should "make every effort to prevent and defend their children from seeing these programmes".

But the American-produced programme, broadcast on Channel 4, continues to be popular in the school's playground.

"Once word goes out that something is cool, children will want to watch it, although we suspect that fewer have watched it than claim to have," said Mr Horrox.

Watershed

While older children can make up their own minds about what they watch, Mr Horrox says South Park is "not appropriate" for pupils under the age of 12. In support of the school's stand, he says that the programme's video has a 15 certificate.

The advice from the school has not caused any controversy among parents, he says, with the only feedback showing support for the cartoon warning.

"If the school had said nothing to parents we might have been thought to condone behaviour that falls below our normal standards."

A spokesman for Channel 4, which is to screen a new series of South Park in the spring, said the programme was broadcast "very post-watershed" and was not marketed at children.

"If children are watching after 11pm then parents have to take responsibility. It's not intended as a children's programme."

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