Gay play at school creates parental uproar
HARTFORD, Ct. (BP) -- Students and parents alike were shocked in mid-October when a homosexual-themed play, which included a kiss, was staged for students at Hartford Public High School in Connecticut -- and kids weren't given the option ahead of time not to watch it.
The play, staged by a local community theater group and starring local high school and college students, is a musical set in an alternate universe where everyone is gay, except for a few closet heterosexuals. The songs feature raunchy lyrics and two boys share a kiss onstage -- which prompted several students to leave the auditorium.
Hartford Public High School is arranged in a group of four academies -- the Nursing Academy, focused on math and other hard sciences students will use in health care fields; the Law and Government Academy, which focuses on social studies; the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology; and the Freshman Academy, geared toward ninth-grade students. Each academy has its own principal.
The play was for students in the nursing and law and government academies, and it was set to be shown to other students, too. Law and Government Academy Principal Adam Johnson told The Hartford Courant he had no regrets.
"This is as important of a topic to discuss as anything in math, anything in social studies," he said. "I'm completely glad that we did it."
Nursing Academy Principal David Chambers said he considered sending an opt-out letter home with students, but decided not to because in the health care field, they'll be exposed to all kinds of people.
Calls to the school seeking comment on whether opt-out letters had been sent home with students in the other two academies went unreturned.
Peter Wolfgang, director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said he would like the state to require parents to give explicit permission -- known as an "opt-in" law -- for their children to attend such events.
"In the community in general, we're hearing outrage over this," he said. "It shows the need for an opt-in law. Right now, parents do have the right to opt their kids out of things like this when they happen in Connecticut, but they don't have the right to opt in. That's how you wind up with situations like this, where kids are at the mercy of an unprincipled principal."
Karla Dial writes for World News Service, where this story first appeared.