The parent of a Creekside Middle School student whose class was inadvertently shown a video last week that included images of young women, nude and in suggestive clothing and poses, has taken his concern to the media.
The 2015 video, “The Mask You Live In,” deals with the topic of masculinity, and “explores how our culture's narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men and society at large and unveils what we can do about it,” according to the trailer.
According to an online report, William Springer’s 12-year-old daughter attends Creekside, and came home Thursday upset by what the class had seen in the video. Springer spoke with school officials, and also contacted the media (although the Patterson Irrigator does not have record of any contact). Several news outlet vans were seen at Creekside on Tuesday morning.
PJUSD Superintendent Dr. Phil Alfano on Tuesday said that he had called the parent Friday and apologized. He also directed his administrative staff to call the parent of every student in the class, to explain what had happened. “None of the parents were aware, and none of the kids expressed concern,” Alfano said, “but it (the video) was not appropriate for junior high.”
The teacher had “apparently shown the edited version last year,” he said, and the district had “never received any complaints, nor had known it had been shown.”
This year, the teacher was out the day the video was to be shown, and left a link for the substitute teacher to show it, “but the link was to the unedited version,” Alfano said.
The scenes in question are “very brief,” Alfano said. The video was “put together for educational purposes,” and intended for ages 15 and up (the edited version is intended for students 14 and up). Maria Schriver was the executive producer, and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Governor Gavin Newsom, wrote and directed.
While the documentary “contains perspective on societal expectations for males that is worth discussing,” Alfano said, “I don’t think it is developmentally appropriate for junior high students.”
Alfano also said he had “dealt with the matter formally with the teacher,” whom he described as “very apologetic,” and said he had “owned up to the mistake, and felt bad about it.”
“That’s really all we can do,” Alfano said, is to “remind teachers…that if they are using materials that are controversial, or upsetting to any students, to make sure they are cleared by the school’s site administrator.”
Patterson Police Chief Marc Nuno on Tuesday said he understands why the parent is upset, but said there was “no malicious intent” in PJUSD personnel showing the video, so there was no need for his department to get involved.
Nuno also credited the district for “owning up to it, and not trying to cover it up.”