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Reality TV controversy: cameras allowed in local elementary school

Reality TV controversy: cameras allowed in local elementary school

By Blake McCoy. CREATED Feb 21, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The Clark County School District is facing scrutiny over a recent decision to allow reality TV cameras inside an elementary school.

The show, "Sister Wives", airs on TLC and documents the life of a polygamist family. The family lives in Las Vegas and cameras were recently granted access to film at a Valentine's Day dance at Sheila Tarr Elementary School.

Not all parents are thrilled with the decision.

"It just did not feel right," says parent Justin Doucette. "It felt like an invasion of privacy and frankly it's just creepy."

A letter notifying parents of the shoot was sent home just two days before the dance leaving them little time to stop it and ultimately they were unsuccessful.

"I had about a 20 minute conversation with Amanda. It concluded with her saying specifically she has the ability to stop this from happening and that she was choosing not to," says Doucette.

The Amanda he's speaking of is Amanda Fulkerson, chief communications officer for the school district.

"We air on the side of openness," says Fulkerson. "This school district is going to be transparent and open."

She claims to have weighed the decision carefully before giving it the green light and says the content of the program, featuring a polygamist family, was not for her to judge.

"I am not in the business of making judgment calls, especially based on religious beliefs," says Fulkerson. "That's not our job. My job was to evaluate the request. I found it to be incredibly reasonable."

Compromises were made.

Fulkerson says the reality crew agreed not to name the school and no one was filmed without consent.

"They spent a very small amount of time at the school and, in fact, they arrived early to the dance to get the footage that they needed," adds Fulkerson.

Still, critical parents say not all cameras are created equal..

"Our view is that broadcasting a DARE graduation is very different than broadcasting a reality TV show," says Doucette.

They are pushing for a more defined policy going forward.