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My response to Ms. Hill:
“Thank you for your response, and especially for the follow up letters. I would happy to look at any clarification of details you would like to make. I find your “time and energy” comment insincere and suspicious since all of the facts I presented were taken from the school’s own letter on its Facebook page, and the quotes were directly from people filmed at the school board meeting.
The additional letters you just sent actually reinforce, rather than refute, the points made in my blog. The only added piece of information I can see is that the intention of the play was to be merely frivolous fun. When it turned out to have controversy, the fact it was no longer frivolous became the issue.
I am sorry, but that rationalization is not good enough. If the play had not have been about a same sex couple, but a family of another race, and many of your school had reacted in a racist manner about it, I doubt (and dearly hope) that your reaction would not have been “gee we have to cancel because there was unintended controversy. ”
I can appreciate your administration was taken by surprise, and that their original intention was not to provide a learning platform for diversity. Once in that situation, how you chose to handle it became the issue however. The school board member who was concerned about the message it sent to LGBT families and to the kids who are gay in your school but are hiding it in secret (And yes, statistically there are as few as five and as many as thirteen in your population) was exactly right if not understated, that your actions have sent a horrific message.
You did not step up to educate those who were voicing ignorance about the families the play symbolized, but placated to that opinion simply because it was widely held in your parent population. My blog was primarily about one thing– and that is the point that my family, should it be in your community, would not be people, we would be a “controversy” and treated as “opinions” of which others were free to “disagree with”. If my sons attended your school, then a plethora of the other parents would want them silenced as to the nature of who made up our family.
The reading of “what we did over the summer” essays would then be a matter of school board debate. If you are under the misguided opinion that “it would not happen that way”, I will simply point you to the fact that you did not see the TANGO controversy coming either.
Yes, you were the unwitting participants that accidentally stepped into a contentious issue, but once there, attempts to back out of it is not an appropriate option. You found out that there IS hatred and ignorance in your community. Instead of dealing with THAT, you want to go back to your state where you were simply uniformed that it exists. Unfortunately endings like that only exist in fairy tales. In the real world it is the opportunity to do something noble or cowardly, and there is very little gray area in between.”
Article continues belowAfter I sent that note, there was one nagging detail that still bothered me, and had not been answered. There was a board member who eloquently, and accurately stated the message the cancellation decision would send to the LGBT community whether intended or not. Yet, the board vote was UNANIMOUS to cancel the play. I wanted to know why.
A moment later, I heard from that board member, her name is Carolin Frank. She wrote, “I am the board member who was concerned about the message. What ultimately decided my vote was the plea from LGBT families in our school to not go ahead and show the play right now. I know that this factored into at least one other board member’s decision.”
That led to the following exchange: