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Newly released documentary alleges former Keller ISD trustee ‘begged’ crew to not air interview

 An international film crew visited Keller ISD’s Central High School in February for an episode of a program called “God, Jesus, Trump!” After two months of anticipation among Keller ISD parents and staff, the show in which the district appeared aired April 14.
Illustration by Rachel Behrndt; photo by Matthew Sgroi
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Fort Worth Report
An international film crew visited Keller ISD’s Central High School in February for an episode of a program called “God, Jesus, Trump!” After two months of anticipation among Keller ISD parents and staff, the show in which the district appeared aired April 14.

After two months of anticipation among Keller ISD parents and staff, parts of an episode shot at Central High School were recently featured on an international TV show called “God, Jesus, Trump!”

A film crew hired by a Netherlands-based broadcasting channel called Evangelische Omroep — or EO for short — visited the school in February to film an interview for an episode titled “Texas – War on Woke” with Sandi Walker, a Keller ISD trustee who later resigned. Show host Tijs van den Brink said during the April 14 episode that the aftermath of the visit had “traumatized” Walker and that the show had decided not to broadcast her interview per her request.

Legal tensions remain between the district and EO over the footage that aired in the episode. A Keller ISD spokesperson told the Fort Worth Report that the district demanded the unauthorized footage be destroyed or returned to them. The district also said it was disappointed to see the release of the footage, which was “taken without proper approval.”

The Report reached out to EO for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Keller ISD had about six minutes of airtime in the episode. Van den Brink said he and the film crew initially interviewed Walker about books banned from the school.

In “Texas – War on Woke,” the film crew is shown entering the administration building where three Central High School staff members greet them. The crew is checked in, receives visitor stickers and heads to the library to speak with Walker.

As part of the episode, van den Brink alleges he received a “desperate text” from Walker an hour after the interview and that Walker “begged” him and the crew to not air her segment.

The episode includes local news segments initially covering the film crew’s visit as well as parent’s strong opposition of the visit on TV and school board meetings.

In an EO article about the Texas episode, van den Brink wrote that he spoke with Walker in a Zoom call after their initial interview at Central High School. During the hour-long call, van den Brink describes Walker being concerned about how the interview would pose a risk to her husband’s job and kids. She asked him again to not broadcast her interview on the show, van den Brink wrote.

“She begs us crying not to broadcast the images of the interview with herself either,” van den Brink wrote.

The episode noted that the film crew had footage of students, including interviews with Walker’s children, and that district lawyers had demanded that all such footage be destroyed.

Keller ISD parent Laney Hawes was featured in the episode through local news clips about the film crew’s visit. Hawes told the Report she is upset with the crew’s decision to remove Walker’s interview while including footage of school staff and an interview with a student.

“The rest of us didn’t get to make that choice,” Hawes said.

The episode included an interview with a Keller ISD student who was originally from Holland. During the interview, van den Brink and the student talk about the differences between sex education in the U.S. and in her home country. The show stated it received parental consent to interview the student.

The day’s filming ultimately resulted in both the resignation of Walker and engineering teacher Elizabeth Mitias, as well as an ongoing district investigation. Religion and law experts described the series of events as reflecting the complexities of the First Amendment.

The district said it has not yet decided to pursue legal action over the released footage. The Texas episode can be viewed on the channel’s streaming site.

Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at marissa.greene@fortworthreport.org or @marissaygreene. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Marissa Greene | Fort Worth Report