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Valentine Road: Watch, Discuss and Act
On February 12, 2008 GLSEN got word of a terrible tragedy unfolding in Oxnard, California. An eighth-grade student named Lawrence “Larry” King was on life support after being shot in the head by a classmate, Brandon McInerney, during their first period English class. Larry died two days later, on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine Road, an HBO Documentary Film directed and produced by Marta Cunningham, tells the story in striking terms, reviving painful memories and calling us all to action.
The film raises tough questions about bias and violence directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming youth in K-12 schools; about the power of gender norms and the ways they are enforced, whatever an individual’s identity; about the ability of schools to respond to the full complexity of students’ lives, providing support to enable their success; and about the ways that schools and adults must support students in crisis before tragedy strikes.
GLSEN, in partnership with HBO, has created an accompanying Viewing Guide to help frame some of the critical issues raised by the film and suggest directions for meaningful, purposeful and safe dialogue among both students and educators.
Ready to Get Started?
Read the Valentine Road Viewing Guide. Understand the issues in the film. Ensure safe and productive dialogue. Support student viewers. Inspire change.
Sign-Up for Access to Valentine Road (below). Educators and Student Leaders can get free online access to the film.
Valentine Road as a Tool for Change
The real-life stories of Larry King and Brandon McInerney, as depicted in Valentine Road, can be powerful vehicles for discussion, learning and action.
FOR EDUCATORS who watch and discuss the film with colleagues, Valentine Road provides an opportunity to examine the real story and make connections back to their schools.
- In what ways are the students portrayed in the film similar to your own?
- How can you best support individual students at risk of being the targets or perpetrators of bullying and violence?
- And what must school communities do to foster respect, understanding and safety for all students?
FOR STUDENTS, with appropriate guidance and support, who watch and discuss Valentine Road with their peers, the stories of Larry and Brandon can be tools for empowerment and resilience.
- Where did Larry find the internal strength to be himself?
- How have his friends grown form telling Larry’s story?
- How has Brandon come to terms with the murder he committed?
- And what can students do to ensure that all members of their school community feel welcome and safe?
GLSEN, THE GAY, LESBIAN & STRAIGHT EDUCATION NETWORK, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.
HOME BOX OFFICE, INC. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 114 million subscribers worldwide. The services offer the most popular subscription video-on-demand products, HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand® as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 70 countries. HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide. HBO.COM/DOCUMENTARIES/VALENTINE-ROAD
VALENTINE ROAD is a BMP Films (the film division of Bunim/Murray Productions) production in association with Eddie Schmidt Productions; directed and produced by Marta Cunningham; produced by Sasha Alpert & Eddie Schmidt; director of photography, Arlene Nelson; editor, Tchavdar Georgiev; consulting editor, Yana Gorskaya; music supervisors, Dave Stone & Justin Gage; associate producer, Kevin McSeveney; executive producers, Jonathan Murray & Gil Goldschein. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins. VALENTINE ROAD was an official selection in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has won numerous awards on the festival circuit, including Miami’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for Best Documentary and Frameline Film Festival’s Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary.