Claremore Daily Progress

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
Community News Network
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • New York to offer free lunch to all middle-school students

    New York's $75 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began last week includes the first step toward offering free lunch for all 1.1 million students, expanding a program now reserved only for the city's poorest children.

    July 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.24.10 AM.png VIDEO: Pilot buys pizzas for storm-delayed travelers

    A Frontier Airlines pilot went above and beyond the call of duty when a recent flight from Washington, D.C. to Denver was diverted to Cheyenne, Wyoming due to bad weather.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why North Korean cheerleaders may soon descend on the South

    When you think of North Korea, "cheerleaders" may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The Hermit Kingdom is perhaps better known for less savory things like gulag-like labor camps and leadership purges.

    July 8, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.46.13 AM.png VIDEO: Foiled beach gear theft goes viral

    Video capturing a bizarre confrontation with two women allegedly attempting to steal beach gear on a Florida beach has gone viral.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.40.20 AM.png VIDEO: Sleeping fan suing Yankees, ESPN for $10M

    A fan caught on camera sleeping during a recent game at Yankee Stadium has filed suit against the Yankees and ESPN, claiming he suffered emotional distress when two announcers mocked him on the air.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo