Superintendent: High School Is No Place for "Bruno" - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Superintendent: High School Is No Place for "Bruno"

Penalties are handed out for Cohen's "Bruno" football shoot

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    Specifically, a character named "Bruno" -- an Austrian fashionista clad in red hot pants and a jock strap -- will be practicing with members of the football team.

    The head of Los Angeles' school district has blown the whistle on a high school principal and athletic director after students were used in a risque photo shoot with "Bruno."

    Parental consent forms should have been "specific to the nature" of a photo shoot that involved high school football players and the faux Austrian fashionista created by actor Sacha Baron Cohen, the superintendent claims.

    The specifics included "Bruno" in tight red hot pants and an athletic supporter cavorting with the players, but that the GQ magazine shoot involved Cohen probably was enough to indicate this wouldn't be traditional yearbook fare. 

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    Penalties stemming from the controversy were handed out Tuesday. The principal and athletic director at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys were disciplined by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    District officials did not disclose the specific nature of the punishment, saying only that "appropriate personnel action" was taken.

    "I don't believe that there is a place on any high school in America, including Los Angeles, for photos such as these," Superintendent Ramon Cortines said Tuesday.

    The photos feature Cohen as his latest film persona wearing shoulder pads, tight red shorts and an athletic cup. And, that's about it.

    Cortines said the photo shoot violated various district rules, leading to the undisclosed punishment of principal Marsha Coates and athletic director Rick Prizant.

    According to the district, parental consent forms were obtained for the students in the photos, but the forms were "not specific to the nature of the photo shoot." The district also concluded that the photos violated the district's policy on the use of the school's name, and violated California Interscholastic Federation rules that ban students from wearing football uniforms for any purpose prior to or after football season.

    "Rules were broken," Cortines said. "The principal is ultimately responsible, but I also hold accountable the athletic director, who is also the school's filming coordinator and was present when the pictures were taken."

    While he would not give specifics of the discipline meted out, he said, "I want you to know that I will not tolerate the failure of any employee to follow the proper procedures that govern how, when or if LAUSD students will be photographed or filmed. I also want parents to know that this district will allow no one to take advantage of our students."

    According to the district, officials plan to audit the school's booster club to determine if GQ's publisher made donations in excess of the contractual agreement, or if any film or production company has done so. The district is also considering suspending access to the Birmingham campus for film crews.