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The Bad Kids

Documentary that follows the principal, Vonda Viland, and three kids who typify those served by Black Rock High School in Yucca Valley, CA over the course of a school year. Joey has talent musically but is living in an unstable home. Lee is a teenage father who is struggling to support his girlfriend and son. Jennifer was sexually abused by her grandmother’s boyfriend and has little support from her father. Black Rock is the last hope for many of these teenagers who, for a variety of reasons, are struggling to graduate. The principle is remarkable – a combination of no-nonsense, tough love, and empathy – and has crafted an experience that seems to be working. I googled the school and learned that last year, of 55 students who graduated, 43 went to community college and 12 went into the military – that looks like a 100% placement rate to me. Big thumbs up from me for a very inspiring movie that affirms the work of our educators, especially those who take on the tough assignments and don’t give up on the students who otherwise might fall through the cracks.

About Gary Burkholder

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