Hating on Metro Part of the Curriculum at Beverly Hills High School

In August of 2012, Beverly Hills Highlights, the award-winning student newspaper at Beverly Hills High School, editorialized that the crusade run by the school district’s Board of Directors (BHUSD) against the subway was an expensive waste of time. After reading such a sober and well-thought-out argument, the school district leaders couldn’t help but reconsider their decision-making procedures. After all, if the students, the very people they professed to serve, were so disillusioned as to rebuke the Board publicly, the Board needed to change its ways.

I’m only kidding. They acted like spoiled children, bullied their employees, and threatened to cut funding for the newspaper staff to take a trip that would further their journalism careers.

There was one lesson learned from the editorial debacle: it’s bad for the image of school district leadership to be lectured on their fever dreams by their students.

Two years later, attacking the regionally popular-everywhere-except BHUSD and Beverly Hills Courier editorial pages Westside Subway Extension is now part of the curriculum. Witness “Why We Fight,” a film series (only the first is available online at the moment) produced by students as part of a class but starring Lewis Hall, a Governing Board Member of the BHUSD, with facts provided by Hall and Tim Buresh, a consultant for the District.

The students did a great job with the presentation of the video. The graphics are clear and easy to follow. The video is clear and well-edited. Good job.

The adults didn’t do as well.

For example, about two minutes in, Hall correctly states that public school construction needs to be approved by the state Board of Architects but then goes off on a strange tangent about how the state has never approved school construction on top of a subway line. Of course, because there aren’t many subways in California, nobody has ever applied for construction on top of a subway, a safe practice regularly performed throughout the country and the industrialized world.

Moments later, Hall bemoans that the subway will revoke the school’s sovereignty to decide its construction plans. Which he does not seem to see as contradicting his previous statement that the school has to ask the Boards of Architects before they could do construction.

The video is full of these sorts of partial-truths stretched into conspiracy. It’s the kind of performance that we’ve grown used to seeing from School District leadership. But, just as when the earnest creationists insert pseudo-science into school textbooks, everyone is a loser when one drags the kids into their political arguments and teaches them spin as though it is truth.

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