Parents of students at Russell Middle School in Milpitas received a letter last week stating that the film shown to Randy Yang's eighth-grade classes was inappropriate.
The district had no official comment, but the San Jose Mercury-News said Wednesday that Yang's family said the first-year teacher was on paid leave pending an investigation.
"Silent Scream" shows images of a fetus being dismembered during an abortion procedure.
"Everybody was kind of disgusted," student Xhynah Cabugao told the Mercury-News.
Yang's reasons for selecting the movie were unclear. The newspaper said his students were given a choice of seeing a film on either abortion or the water cycle and selected the abortion one.