By Abby Watkins
and Leo Shaw
Various illegal activities allegedly occurred on campus in connection with the production of “High School,” a comedy film starring rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, on May 8 and 9. Several students as well as someone involved in the film’s production report the use of marijuana and at least one teacher’s office was burglarized during filming, despite Manhattan Beach Unified School District reports indicating otherwise.
A YouTube video uploaded by Pro Reese, who was present at the shoot, shows Snoop Dogg holding what Reese alludes to as marijuana in a Mira Costa locker hall, as well as an unknown figure smoking outside of a classroom. Although the substance could not be confirmed, smoking tobacco on campus is also against district policy and the California Education Code.
“They took advantage of a good faith agreement about filming a G rated kids’ show,” Principal Ben Dale said. “They created a distraction on our campus and unwittingly contributed to a stereotype of our school that is unfair.”
Students have also alleged that both set workers and Mira Costa students were smoking marijuana during shooting on May 8, although Mira Costa administrators and district officials deny that any drug use occurred on campus.
“We walked right through a scene and were herded into a group of actors,” junior Luke Trimble said. “We saw their entourage smoking blunts.”
Khalifa also posted several messages that reference marijuana use to his Twitter account on the days that filming occurred. It is unknown whether or not he was on set at the time, but Khalifa tweeted “got high” at about 3 p.m. on Monday and also tweeted “waken…baken…” on both Sunday and Monday.
Physical education teacher Theresa Tower also reported the theft of personal belongings including an iPod and clothing from her office, in addition to vandalism that extended to eating food left out in the room. According to Vice Principal Paula Spence, the production company has assumed responsibility for the thefts and offered to reimburse Tower directly.
“It may not have been related, since there were so many people here on campus coming to watch, but we really don’t know,” Tower said.”I put out the information that my office had been gone through, and that information was forwarded to the production company. They offered to reimburse me immediately, which was very cool.”
In an extension of illegal events taking place during the shoot, a dark-colored BMW was seen by junior Carly Montan and her mother, Helen Wilt, attempting to drive down the main stairs to the administration building plaza and onto Artesia Blvd. after entering campus from the staff parking lot.
The car was reportedly driven by teenagers and incurred severe damage, leaving a bumper and other debris behind. Maintenance and Operations has since turned the car’s license plate over to the Manhattan Beach Police Department.
“I was more shocked than anything that anyone would be so reckless and stupid as to destroy their car in a quick attempt to leave the school,” Wilt said.
The Mira Costa administration was not officially involved in overseeing the filming, and was not initially aware of these events. Spence was the only administrator present during the shoot and has indicated that she observed no illegal activity during the hours she was present.
“There was some questionable language, but there was no illicit activity,” Spence said.
Although the district revoked the production crew’s permit to film on Tuesday, the events of the shoot have since become a subject of controversy in the community and at Mira Costa.
“Those inside and outside of our organization that relish seeing us fail or struggle are having a good time with this,” Dale said.
To view La Vista’s complete series of articles on this issue, see here.