The Mind Inside: Episode Three introduces viewers to levels of support that live beyond the surface and the heroes who stop at nothing to provide it

The Mind Inside: Episode Three introduces viewers to levels of support that live beyond the surface and the heroes who stop at nothing to provide it

By Tyler Dahlgren

From the opening scene, the filmmakers at I Love Public Schools lift the audience from the comforts of wherever they’re viewing The Mind Inside: Episode Three and drop them into the middle of a different world.

For educators, this world will feel heartbreakingly familiar. The film focuses on North Platte Public Schools, where more than half of the students in the district live at or below the poverty line.

This is Student Service Coordinator Brandy Buscher’s world. It’s school resource officer Jay Johnson’s world. And here, beyond the essential needs like food and clothes, lie deeper, more complicated levels of support that far too many kids rely on to survive.

For viewers who live their lives outside of the realm of education, the film helps to better understand the importance of that support and the prominent role school districts play in ensuring the well-being of their students.

Director Sally Nellson Barrett and crew followed Buscher and Johnson for the better part of 20 days, most of which were spent tirelessly pinballing from one dire situation to the next. We’re introduced to four courageous students who deal with a myriad of issues at home, barriers to success at school like drug abuse, sexual assault, food insecurity, self-harm and attempts at suicide.

Like the previous two episodes in the docuseries, the newest installment doesn’t have to drum up the theatrics or dramatize what’s happening on the screen to give viewers an idea of what it’s like to live a day in the life of Buscher or Officer Johnson. The two even allow us into their homes at different points in the film, a tender look at how much those family gatherings around the breakfast or dinner table mean before or after another long day.

There’s 4,000 students in North Platte, and while there might only be two of them, there’s dedicated and devoted professionals in similar positions across the state.

This film captures their spirit in a beautiful way.

Masterful storytellers who take us on a journey to North Platte, I Love Public Schools lets this particular story tell itself. They were able to poignantly do so from the perspectives of two school super heroes whose hearts are exposed and on full-display throughout the 50-minute film.

It’s an honest lap around the obstacle-laced course that schools must maneuver, more often than not, completely behind the scenes. 

It’s an eye-opening ride for the viewer, or, in this bended analogy, the passenger.

Buscher and Officer Johnson, the film’s protagonists, bravely drive the locomotive. In the pits of our stomachs, we feel every sharp turn and every sudden stop and start. It’s coincidental, tagging them as the metaphorical drivers of the story, because, for many kids, it’s their drive that keeps the wheels spinning. 

I Love Public Schools is the vehicle, one that rides so honest and true that it’s easy to become immersed in the film to the point that you forget you’re watching something on a screen. 

It feels like more than that.

And that’s because for North Platte, its students and for districts all across the state, it is. These are real-life challenges that must be faced head-on when the sun rises at the start of every day. It feels real, and for those who closely follow I Love Public Schools, that’s what you’ve come to expect from these filmmakers. 

Powerful. Honest. Real. 

The Mind Inside: Episode Three is all of the above. 

Watch the new episode now!