COMPTON, Calif. – Successful filmmakers understand that good stories are at the heart of every good movie.

That’s why a film crew was on hand in 2010 when a group of Compton parents made history by being the first in the state to use California’s “parent trigger” law. The parents were attempting to turn their children’s failing government-run school into a charter school.

The parents’ effort ultimately failed, but thanks to a new documentary – “We The Parents” – viewers can see for themselves the real-life drama that resulted from their struggle to save a bad school.

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Filmmakers show how parents and the reformers (working through the group Parent Revolution) went door-to-door collecting signatures from other parents who wanted changes made at the failing McKinley Elementary.

Not every parent the group spoke to was in favor of forcing changes at the school, and that led to some angry exchanges.

“In ‘We The Parents,’ mothers who led the petition drive at McKinley say other parents refused to stand next to them while they picked up their kids and many refused to publicly admit that they had signed the (trigger) petition,” reports.

“Video from PTA meetings at McKinley feels like reality television and makes for truly dramatic viewing. Parents stand at the podium in a cramped school lunchroom, yelling and pointing fingers at other parents for signing the petition, to thunderous rounds of applause.”

One parent in the film says her son came home crying from school because he felt ostracized at school, due to her involvement with the “trigger” group.

A lot of the dissension within the Compton community was the result of a counter-campaign waged by the state’s teacher unions.

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The unions and their status quo comrades ended up winning this particular fight, but the film shouldn’t leave viewers too depressed. It appears the Compton parents were trendsetters in California and throughout the U.S.

As notes, not only have parents and reformers succeeded in forcing major changes at three Los Angeles-area public schools, but six other states have already passed similar “trigger” laws, and 20 more are considering doing so.

Meanwhile, parents in Adelanto, California recently reopened their local elementary school as a charter school after successfully using the “parent trigger” law.

“We The Parents” debuts tomorrow in Los Angeles.