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L.A. Unified suspends commercial filming at schools after reports of damage, porn movie

The Los Angeles Unified School District has suspended commercial filming on campuses in the wake of broadcast reports by KNBC-TV Channel 4 into allegations that film shoots had disrupted classrooms and damaged school property.

One campus shoot was for a pornographic film, the station reported.

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"It is important that we ensure teaching and learning are not disrupted, and that all filming activity is appropriate for our schools," said L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines in a statement released Thursday.  "As an organization responsible for educating students, it is essential that we hold ourselves and our schools to a high standard."

Cortines also said that he has authorized the district's inspector general to examine filming activities.

Money from production companies has been a source of revenue for the district and especially for some campuses that are particularly bucolic or reminiscent of classic school architecture, such as Hamilton High or Marshall High.

The pornographic shoot, at Hamilton High, was in 2011, according to the station.

"Filming permits and district records show producers of the 2012 release 'Revenge of the Petites' paid cash to film on Hamilton's campus on two consecutive Saturdays in October 2011," according to the NBC4 website. "The crew also filmed a carwash scene that included public nudity in the school's front parking lot."

The school district declined to comment Thursday, but NBC4 reported that officials said the filmmakers misled them. The district would never have knowingly approved their presence on a campus for such a film, officials told the station.

"The district was made aware at that time that the production company failed to comply with terms of the filming agreement," district spokeswoman Shannon Haber said in an email quoted by NBC4. "We immediately notified the production company that it was banned from ever using district facilities again. We also demanded that the company remove any and all images depicting the school or its students from the film."

The report also recounted examples of problems caused by filming, including teachers being unable to park, supplies missing from bathrooms, equipment being damaged, disruptive loud noises and students being unable to get to classes on time.

In an earlier statement, Cortines said that the district has earned about $10 million from filming over the last five years.

The money "has enabled our schools to fund programs and much-needed resources to improve the educational experience of their students," he said. "The district has strict policies to ensure money is spent appropriately."

He added: "When filming at our schools, production crews must adhere to district policies, as well as state and local laws and regulations.... School principals are responsible for notifying parents and staff about planned filming activity."

L.A.-area schools are familiar backdrops for many movies and television shows. Venice High School was Rydell High in the movie “Grease.” Grant High starred in "Clueless" and Marshall High in "Nightmare on Elm Street."

Twitter: @howardblume

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