PARENTS, staff and pupils have rallied behind a Thornbury school after it hit the headlines when provocative music was played during a PE class.
Parents Catherine Hobbs and Neil Castleton feared teenagers at The Castle School were exposed to inappropriate music and sexualised dance moves.
Year 10 pupils were warming up for a Zumba dance class last week when a one and a half-minute section of the notorious pop song Blurred Lines was played as part of an eight-minute mix.
The couple’s 14-year-old daughter Bella was uncomfortable with the song’s inclusion.
Robin Thicke’s infamous song topped the charts last summer but caused international outrage due to lyrics many have accused of condoning sexual violence, notably through the lines, “I know you want it,” and “I hate these blurred lines.”
Executive head teacher Melanie Warnes this week apologised for the song’s inclusion in the lesson.
“We are very sorry and concerned that one of our students was upset by the song, which is not in keeping with the values and ethos of The Castle School,” she said.
Speaking exclusively to the Gazette, she said the school and pupil’s parents had been devastated by the version of events portrayed in the national media.
Ms Warnes said: “Our discussions with the parents have been constructive and we understand their concerns.
“It is clear from my meeting with them that they, like the rest of the school community, were shocked at the tone of the coverage.
“It misrepresented their concerns and caused the family considerable distress.
“More than anything else, they wish their daughter’s enjoyment of school to continue and they fully support the school in protecting children and young people from prurient and inappropriate sexual material.”
Bella’s parents said they had been amazed by the positive and balanced responses from young people on social media as the story gathered pace.
They added: “All of us have been overwhelmed by the supportive comments extended to the family and the school and would like to express our thanks.”
Ms Warnes said that she had met the popular and experienced Zumba instructor who was unaware of the controversy surrounding Thicke’s song and apologised for any upset unintentionally caused.
“We all accept that a genuine mistake was made by the inclusion of the particular song,” Ms Warnes said, “but share confidence in the conscientious and committed work of the instructor and in the ability and professionalism of our PE staff.”
Zumba is set to continue as one of the popular PE options offered at the 1,720-pupil school.