A student does a backward somersault at Wakefield Middle School, and why it matters.

September 23, 2017
  • Wakefield Middle School student performs a backward somersault to help promote a school vendor.
  • What if she was injured doing this?
  • Did the teacher or school obtain informed, written consent from parents of students before they performed and read their script and before their likenesses were nationally distributed?
  • Does the Wake County Public School System routinely allow students to help promote school vendors?

Mr. Watson’s students perform for school vendor Channel One. Did Mr. Watson arrange for his student/actors to be paid by Channel One? Don’t think so.


From Jim Metrock:

On Thursday, September 21, a video from Wakefield Middle School in Raleigh, NC started off the Channel One program.

A student does a really neat backflip followed by a group of students shouting, “Channel One News starts right now!”

I wrote Mr. Christopher Watson, the teacher of the students seen in the video, seeking a comment or explanation.  He did not reply.

I wrote the principal and two assistant principals about this apparent misuse of their students.  You guessed it. None replied.  You would have thought they would have appreciated my concern for the safety of their students.

Below is the video of Mr. Watson’s third-period class performing for Channel One, and the email I sent him.

WATCH THE VIDEO:  Wakefield MS Sept 21 2017


From Channel One News September 21, 2017, transcript:

Students: This is Mr. Watson’s third-period class from Wakefield Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Channel One News starts right now! 

Emily: Wakefield Middle School — nice one, guys. You think we could do that?

Demetrius: Well, you know, I used to take gymnastics, so I definitely could do that.

Emily: Well, you know, I didn’t, so I definitely will be cheering at the end. I am Emily Reppert.

Demetrius: And I am Demetrius Pipkin.


My email to

Mr. Watson
I run a nonprofit Obligation, Inc. (obligation.org) that writes about the controversial youth marketing firm called Channel One.

It appears that you encouraged a female student in your third-period class to perform a gymnastic stunt for Channel One in hopes of getting your video on their show.
I guess you already know it was played this morning for the millions in Channel One’s captive audience.

You filmed an advertisement for Channel One. They use these shout-outs to promote their show.

Mr. Watson, I’m sure your student is an accomplished gymnast who rarely makes a mistake, BUT what if she did?
What if she landed badly and hurt herself… while performing your stunt? What would happen to you as a teacher? Who would pay for medical treatment?

Channel One is a commercial TV show that is a pariah in the world of education. No educational organization endorsing or supporting its use in public school classrooms. You allowed students to be used as props for a commercial.

If they were going to perform on a nationwide video, did you ask Channel One to pay them?

Did you inform parents of what you were doing with the students and did you obtain written permission from them for their likeness to be seen nationwide?

Did your principal support this use of students? Superintendent?

Just wondering if a local Raleigh company came to you and asked if some of your students could film a promotional video for their company – during school time – without parents knowing, what would you say?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,