Will Smith Opening New School Under Controversy

Box office and former “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star Will Smith, and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith are opening a school in Los Angeles with a curriculum that is considered both cutting edge and controversial. The school, New Village Academy, is scheduled for a September opening, but some critics say that too much of the instruction is based on the principles of Scientology.

Smith denies that the school is a Scientology facility, but does say that some of the instructional methods, called “study technology”, were developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Several of the teachers also belong to the church. But Smith and his wife say they are not members of church, and insist that the school has no religious affiliation.

The academy’s director, Jacqueline Olivier, told the Los Angeles Times that although some of the school’s staff belong to Scientology, the they also have Christian, Muslim, and Jewish instructors.

“We are a secular school, and just like all nonreligious independent schools, faculty and staff do not promote their own religions at school or pass on the beliefs of their particular faith to children,” says Olivier.

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