Cover School Board, Become A Star

Last week we had the Boynton Beach Police Department asking reporters to shave their heads for a cause, now we have the Palm Beach School District offering journos a chance to "portray themselves" in a movie.

School board spokesman Nat Harrington tells reporters of a school safety video that is being shot today and writes in the release: "The press is asked to become 'extras,' portraying themselves for part of the taping. ... Media wanting to participate should arrive at the school entrance at 10:15 am for a briefing. See Frank Eberling at the scene."

I'm sure the school district needs all the help it can get, but asking reporters to show up for a casting call? Harrington should know that one of the most basic tenets of journalism is that reporters don't participate. Simply from a practical view, how can they cover it well when they are busy getting patted with pancake makeup? I can hear it now: "Mr. Eberling, sir, I want to be in the picture."

You can see a full copy of the press release after the jump.

-----Original Message----- From: Nat Harrington [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:38 PM Subject: Press Release -Code Red Exercise Provides Glimpse Into School Security Realities


October 31, 2007 Contact: Nat Harrington (561) 434-8228

Code Red Exercise, Training Video Provide Glimpse Into School Security Realties

Media Invited To Participate

WHO: Chief Jim Kelly , School Police Chief and William Testa of School Security are working with the staff at THE EDUCATION NETWORK to produce a series of CODE RED training videos.

WHAT: Production of the first in a series of fifteen-minute training videos, with an audience of law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students. What is the proper response to a CODE RED situation?

This first in the series will focus on middle school-aged children. In the training scenario, an angry father, ordered by a judge to stay away from his son, tries to abduct him from school at gunpoint. Upon seeing the angry father and the handgun, the school administrators immediately declare a CODE RED lockdown, all according to a carefully planned procedure.

WHEN: The dramatization will be taped from 8 am -6 pm on Friday, November 2, 2007 . The working press is invited to witness taping in the parking lot from approximately 10:30 am-12 Noon. Opportunities for still photographs and TV B-roll will be available. Students cannot be photographed.

Interviews can be taped from Noon-1 pm. The press is asked to become "extras, portraying themselves for part of the taping.

WHERE: Taping will take place at THE KING'S ACADEMY, corner of Belvedere Road and Sansbury Way .

Special parking will be available for the press on the S.W. corner of the property.

WHY: With the increase in threats to schools and violence toward children, The School District of Palm Beach County's School Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Jim Kelly, recognized the need to train participants to respond correctly to a threatening situation.

The taped series will be available nationwide to train law enforcement officers, school administrators, teachers, students, and parents on the appropriate way to react to various CODE RED situations. Other scenarios will be taped in the future at an elementary school and a high school, depicting varying degrees of intensity of the emergency.

Media wanting to participate should arrive at the school entrance at 10:15 am for a briefing. See Frank Eberling at the scene. Media arriving while the exercise is underway will be limited in video and photo opportunities.

For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact Frank Eberling, T.E.N, 346-8106-cell; or Eitan Marcoff 714-2215-cell, or ask for them at the scene prior to the start of the event.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman