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School officials say they've seen the show and don't want any bad publicity. "If you look at the last series [Oliver] did in Huntington, W.Va., it was full of conflict and drama, and we're not interested in that," says Robert Alaniz, a spokesman for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), reports the Los Angeles Times. (Guess they missed the heart-swelling finale.) While they assess what to do next, officials have suspended his license to film in the city's schools.
Alaniz says he supports Oliver's goal, but fears the show would unfairly reflect the advances the district has already made towards healthier school food. It has already banned junk food and sodas and has added more produce. "Our guidelines are certainly way above the USDA guidelines," he told the Times.
Officials say it's not only Oliver's show that has been banned. For now, all reality programming productions in LAUSD schools have been shut down. A spokesman for FilmL.A. Inc, the nonprofit group that handles film permits for LAUSD, told the Times that the district's action stems from concern that filming reality shows can be disruptive to kids in the classrooms.
"The district decided that having unscripted reality shoots while classes were still in session was probably not the best idea," FilmL.A. spokesman Todd Lindgren told the Times. "Reality programming is unpredictable."
At a speech this week at the University of California's School of Public Health in L.A., Oliver sounded like he didn't buy the district's explanation. "My filming permit was terminated because I can't promise that the LAUSD (will) look good," he said, according to the Times. "They fail to see me as a positive, and they fail to see the TV as an incredible way to spread the word, to inspire people, to inform parents, to see other teachers doing pioneering things."
All is not yet lost. Alaniz has agreed to continue working with Oliver on a compromise. For now, he's allowed to film outdoors on one school campus "on the understanding that his show would focus on teaching kids in culinary class how to prepare healthful meals," reports the Times.
What do you think? Should reality shoots be allowed in public schools?