Roslyn school scandal film wins Emmy

"Bad Education," the film based off the 2004 embezzlement scandal in the Roslyn School District, won Best Television Film at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, with Roslyn native Mike Makowsky listed among the recipients. (Photo courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival).

“Bad Education,” the film based on the embezzlement scandal that plagued the Roslyn school district in the early 2000s, was named the best television movie or miniseries of the 2019-20 television season at the Creative Arts Emmys Awards on Saturday night.

The film won over four Netflix productions: “American Son,” “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend,” and “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.”

Writer, producer and Roslyn alumnus Mike Makowsky is listed as a recipient of the award, and in a statement to Blank Slate Media referred to a tweet he had written on the win.

“My teachers at Roslyn were the first adults to encourage me to pursue creative writing,” Makowsky said. “Years later they were my primary sources and first readers on the Bad Education script. They deserve all the thanks I can give (and they *probably* deserved a better title for the movie too).”

The film, which premiered on pay-cable network HBO on April 25 following a successful run at the Toronto International Film Festival, is based on Frank Tassone, who headed the Roslyn school district for 12 years, beginning in 1990, and took it to a ranking of No. 4 in the country.

After the quiet dismissal of Assistant Superintendent Pamela Gluckin, played in the movie by Allison Janney, a story on the dismissal was written by then-senior Rebekah Rombom and published in the school newspaper The Hilltop Beacon, leading to parents finding out and Tassone’s subsequent resignation in June 2002. Rombom was thanked in the film’s credits, and the role inspired by her was played by actress Geraldine Viswanathan.

Both Tassone and Gluckin pleaded guilty to larceny charges and served prison sentences. Tassone said after the film premiered on TV that he had repaid the $2.2 million he owed. HBO later said that Gluckin died in 2017.

Tassone was critical of the film when it premiered, contending that “about 40 to 50 percent” of the movie was accurate but praising Hugh Jackman for his performance, saying he did “a very good job portraying me.”

For his role as Tassone, Jackman was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie, but lost to Mark Ruffalo from HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True.”


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