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Well, that didn't take long.

The fallout has begun from Mother Funders, Bravo’s new reality show about a PTO—even before the first official episode has aired.

Since Bravo ran a half-hour preview of Mother Funders last month, the school district the show is based on has had a stream of complaints from community members on the over-the-top portrayal of PTO leaders. School officials have also found themselves in conflict with the show’s creators, who they say agreed to not reveal the identity of the real school and PTO—but then did so in the preview. 

But the biggest casualty so far: The real PTO on which the TV show is based will be temporarily shut down. A school district spokesman said Wednesday that the community’s negative reaction to the show was so strong that officials decided the PTO couldn’t function, at least for now. 

“It’s the intent to bring the PTO back at some point, but when there’s some distance with what has just happened,’’ says J.D. Hardin, who heads up communications and community relations  for the Henry County School District in McDonough, Ga. “The wound is still fresh, and people are still associating the show’s PTO with the school. “

A Bravo spokeswoman declined to comment for this post. 

Mother Funders previewed last month on Bravo, the network known for its “Real Housewives” reality shows. The show portrays a group of women who in real life were executive board members for the PTO at Bethlehem Elementary in Locust Grove, part of the Henry County School District. The preview was typical Bravo, with diva-like behavior and plenty of scheming and heated confrontations. The regular season is scheduled to begin on June 14. 

(To check out our earlier coverage of Mother Funders, see these posts: The Real Moms of Atlanta and Mother Funders Preview: The PTO Today Perspective.) 

Since the preview, the school district has done plenty of damage control, Hardin says, because many parents believed the district approved or participated in the show. That was not the case, however: “The show has caused such a ruckus. We’ve received numerous complaints about people’s portrayal on this show and how it portrays our county,’’ he says. 

In real life, the Bethlehem PTO has been a thriving part of the school community. A look at the PTO’s Facebook page shows an active and fun group. The show was filmed during the school year and during that time, the PTO conducted many activities, including a fun run, book fair, father-daughter dance, and dessert with dad event. Elections were held in April and a new board was named. Then Mother Funders aired. The old board, including PTO president Carla Stephens, will be featured on the show. But they’ve since moved on. 

Hardin says that even though the new board is not associated with the reality show, it would have been too difficult for them to accomplish anything while the show airs. 

“It wouldn’t have given the upcoming PTO a fair shake, and it would have made their jobs 100 times tougher because of the stigma of the show,’’ he says. 

Hardin says Bethlehem Elementary officials sent a letter to parents to explain why the PTO was shutting down and also reached out to the new board to assure them that eventually there will be a fresh start for the PTO. 

Hardin also says that the school district is in discussions with Bravo now about not using the name of the school during the regular season. 

“If the show goes forward, it goes forward, but it will be over our objections,’’ Hardin adds. “The show doesn’t do justice for the PTO people who are doing the right thing.” 

Photo by: Michael Larsen/Bravo