‘The Bad Kids’ Documentary About a Last-Chance School Airs on ‘Independent Lens’

By Mark Walsh — March 20, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The public-television series “Independent Lens” on Monday night airs one of the more interesting education documentaries of the past couple of years—"The Bad Kids.”

I reviewed the film in December before it had a short theatrical run in Los Angeles. It had premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016.

The “compelling” (my description) documentary examines Black Rock High School in Yucca Valley, Calif., a last-chance “continuation” school for 11th and 12 graders seeking to earn a high school diploma after falling short elsewhere.

“The school is in the Mojave Desert, near Joshua Tree National Park, and seemingly at the end of the Earth for its students,” I wrote. The cinéma vérité film by directors Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe highlights a few students, especially 17-year-old Joey, as well as principal Vonda Viland as they cope with unusual challenges before hope runs out.

The film is well worth a watch, and the slot on on “Independent Lens” at 10 p.m. Eastern (check local listings) should expose it to a much bigger audience than just those lucky ducks who get to go to Sundance.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.