PATTERSON -- A Stanislaus County father claims his 12-year-old daughter was shown pornographic images at her Patterson middle school.
He’s now taken educators to task about the jarring video, which is part of a 2015 documentary directed by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
“The Mask You Live In” is meant to be a thought-provoking documentary about toxic masculinity that was recently shown to middle schoolers at Creekside School in Patterson. The documentary's site says it "follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. ... The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men."
“My issue wasn’t with all the topics being discussed in the documentary,” parent Bill Springer said. “It was just the fact that she was shown pornography.”
Springer said his daughter came home upset last Thursday after she and her peers watched pornographic images as part of the movie.
The section of the documentary with the sexually-explicit images focuses on the effects of pornography on a boy's developing brain.
“My 12-year-old daughter went to school and was exposed to it there, of all places, when we take so many safeguards to protect her from that,” Springer said.
The next day Springer said he reached out to FOX40 and the Patterson Joint Unified School District.
Superintendent Philip Alfano said mistakes were made.
“Well, the movie shouldn’t have been shown without permission,” he said.
Alfano told FOX40 the teacher had aired a cleaner, censored version of the documentary in previous classes but accidentally left the wrong link for the substitute teacher that day.
“The teacher had shown it previously in an edited version but left a link for an unedited version and that’s how those scenes slipped through,” Alfano said.
Censored or not, Alfano said the teacher didn’t follow protocol.
“The topic is timely and I think it’s one worthy of discussion,” Alfano told FOX40. “I just don’t think a 12-year-old is ready for that."
Springer said he received an apology but what he wants is disciplinary action.
“Some sort of formal discipline,” he said. “I’m not looking for blood but he needs something more than nothing.”
Alfano wouldn’t discuss specifics but said the teacher was “dealt with formally.”