PATTERSON (CBS13) — A film with explicit images and language is sparking outrage from parents at a Stanislaus County School.
The documentary “The Mask You Live In” was produced and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California’s First Partner. The film is about male stereotypes and explores how society’s definition of masculinity is harming boys. Part of the movie shows nude images of women in sexual poses.
The movie was shown to students ages 11 and 12 in an advisory class at Creekside Middle School. Now, some parents say their kids are traumatized.
The trailer for “The Mask You Live In” contains so much profanity, CBS13 couldn’t air more than a few seconds of it. The nude images are blurred or pixilated, but leave little to the imagination.
When the movie was shown by a substitute teacher, some parents say their kids came home traumatized. The images appear in a portion of the film about men searching for pornography on the internet.
The Superintendent of the Patterson School District, Phillip Alfano, says he saw the film and agreed with parents some images are disturbing.
“Developmentally, some of the topics discussed are more appropriate for a high school or college audience than 12 or 13-year-old students,” Alfano said.
He says it’s not appropriate for junior high school students. The recommended audience for the film is age 14 and older, but these students were 11 and 12 years old.
We showed Creekside Middle school parent Rathana Carter just the trailer for the film. She’s also a volunteer crossing guard at the school.
“I don’t even allow my kid to speak a word of that you know,” she said. “Kids at this age, like I told you, are like a sponge. They absorb everything they see or hear.”
Digging deeper, we asked whether showing this film broke school policy. The Superintendent says it does.
The teacher didn’t follow a policy that requires staff to first get approval from the school administrator for any potentially controversial content used in class.
Alfano said, “We encourage teachers to use supplemental materials, but we also want them to use those with caution. Our principal contacted every parent to let them know what had happened.”
Alfano said the class’s permanent teacher has apologized calling showing the movie a ‘mix up’. He says an unedited version of Newsom’s film was shown by mistake.
“It was a violation of our current policy, even the edited version should’ve been cleared before being shown to students,” said Alfano.
“Like I said, they’re too young it’s just not the right thing to do,” Carter said.
We did reach out to Jennifer Newsom’s team for comment but haven’t heard back.
The superintendent couldn’t discuss whether any disciplinary action would be taken involving the teacher or substitute, but says it will be dealt with “formally.”