theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Community News Network

July 11, 2013

Controversial school play cancelled in Iowa

OTTUMWA, Iowa — The idea for the school drama department to stage “The Laramie Project’’ – a play about a Wyoming teen who was beaten to death because he was gay – is drawing mixed reviews in this small southeast Iowa community.

The students’ initial reaction was one of excitement, but that thrill was short-lived when School Supt. Davis Eidahl nixed plans for the performance.

"The Laramie Project" by Moisés Kaufman shows the challenges faced by a town after a young man is murdered.

"None of us can understand why they are shying away from it," said Jordan Young, 16, a student who is secretary of the Ottumwa High School  drama club. "The principal [of OHS] wants to get away from bullying, and he has initiatives he really [pushes]. So to hit so hard on a show that addresses bullying, it makes no sense."

Eidahl  said the decision wasn’t so much the play but rather the intensity of the adult subject matter. "The rationale is we really want to produce and showcase family-friendly productions, where all family members can come,” he said.

The debate has turned into what role schools play in dealing with bullies and how students must be taught to address destructive behavior problems.

“Senseless acts of bullying for reasons of differences like those [depicted in] this documentary are a great lesson to be learned,” Eidahl said “But is it the only way we can get this point across? No. It's not about one play, one initiative or one assembly; it's about creating a sense of belonging each and every day.”

In a letter to the editor, Kayla Rowe, an OHS graduate, said students deal with difficult social issues daily and it is critical they learn how to properly address them.

"We have a responsibility as a society to face issues, such as the one presented in The Laramie Project, because without recognizing and tackling them, we are doomed to keep struggling with them without resolution," she wrote.

The students said they were hopeful the superintendent would change his decision.

---

Details for this story were provided by the Ottumwa (Iowa) Courier.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Stocks
Poll

Do you think Russia President Vladimir Putin will invade Ukraine?

Yes
No
     View Results