Does ‘Kindergarten Cop’ glorify police in schools? Complaints ax Oregon screening

Don Sweeney
·2 min read

An Oregon film center has canceled plans for an outdoor screening of “Kindergarten Cop” after complaints the movie promotes over-policing in schools.

The Northwest Film Center in Portland had planned to kick off its summer drive-in series Thursday, Aug. 6, with a showing of the 1990 comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Willamette Week reported.

The film depicts Schwarzenegger as a hardened police detective who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher to catch a drug kingpin whose son is in his class in Astoria, Oregon.

“National reckoning on overpolicing is a weird time to revive ‘Kindergarten Cop,’ ” wrote Portland author Lois Leveen on Twitter, Deadline reported. Her Twitter feed has since been made private.

“There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline in which African American, Latinx and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educate,” wrote Leveen, according to Deadline.

Some school districts and cities across the United States have been re-assessing or ending programs with on-campus police officers in the wake of protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis.

“It’s true ‘Kindergarten Cop’ is only a movie. So are ‘Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Gone With the Wind,’ but we recognize films like those are not ‘good family fun,’” Leveen wrote in a follow-up email, Willamette Week reported.

The center says complaints by Leveen and others prompted it to cancel “Kindergarten Cop” and instead schedule a second showing of a documentary on Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights figure who died July 17, according to the publication.

The center had originally scheduled “Kindergarten Cop” because it was filmed in Oregon, MovieWeb reported.

In the film, Schwarzenegger’s narcotics detective eventually gives up his badge to become a full-time kindergarten teacher.