Several months after receiving the green light from the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board of Education, renowned filmmaker Steve James and his crew have begun filming at the high school. In March, the board approved the production of what James said will be a documentary about the gap in academic outcomes between white and black students. 

Although the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the production, there was some hesitation among district administration and staff members, who felt that the film could dilute some of the issue’s real-life complexities, among other concerns. James reassured them at the time that this wouldn’t be the case. Since the board approved the filming, the intended format of the production has changed from a documentary feature film to a miniseries. 

At a community meeting last month, OPRF parents were generally accepting of the concept. The district has emailed a letter explaining the project to all parents and guardians. James began filming classroom scenes last week. District officials said they’ve only received two responses to the emailed letter and both were positive. The filming is expected to last for at least a year.


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