The Ottumwa Courier

Education

August 10, 2013

'Laramie Project' pushes forward

OTTUMWA — Auditions for "The Laramie Project" are on the horizon, and the play's leaders hope school administrators have learned their lesson.

The play looks at the Laramie, Wyo. community's reaction to the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, in 1998. His murder brought attention to hate crimes across the nation. Last month, Ottumwa schools superintendent Davis Eidahl announced that the play would not be allowed to be performed by the Ottumwa High School drama department.

"The production in and of itself will go on, and the message still gets out there, which is important," said Dale Dommer, who is directing the play at Bridge View Center. "The problem I have, and I don't know why Davis doesn't see this, is the message we give by not allowing it in the school — and that's what he's missing. The message he sends by not allowing it is a much greater message to everybody."

OHS drama teacher Natalie Saunders said in the 20 years she's directed school plays, this is the first to be banned.

Dommer called Eidahl's refusal to allow the play censorship.

"We're using Matthew Shepard's story as a medium," he said. "It could be any black, Jewish or gay person, it doesn't matter. It's not about Matthew, it's not about Natalie or me or Davis, it's about humanity."

Dommer said he's upset Eidahl "can't see what he has done" and that in today's society, producing the play is not controversial — banning it is.

"Davis is a bully, whether he wants to recognize that or not," Dommer said. "Right, wrong or indifferent, our school system is in a bad way and they're not going to tell you that, but it is."

Text Only
Education
  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Agriculture Day color photo 2 -T -L -M Cardinal students celebrate Ag Day ELDON — Sometimes the best way to learn is to get out of the classroom and come face-to-face with things that you might not see every day. Students at Cardinal Elementary School got that chance Thursday during Ag Day. Every year, the Cardinal FFA and

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT Joe Tafta color photo -L -T -M Pursuing opportunities

    OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does. But not always. On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for m

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Carrying bookbags a balancing act OTTUMWA — Permission slips. Notes from teachers. School activity announcements, birthday invitations, report cards and homework to sign. Kids bring home a lot of stuff. But is it done fairly? The school board this week was asked by ranking members of

    April 16, 2014

  • Van Buren to share FFA with Harmony KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren Community School Board approved a recommendation from its administration to share the ag program with Harmony for the 2014-15 school year. The decision means that Van Buren students would travel to Harmony to receive ag instruct

    April 16, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT picture Bracelets -M -T Caring Kids

    OTTUMWA — Five fourth-graders didn't need grownups to show them it feels good to help others. They found out firsthand. "I wanted to do a project with the bracelets I make. And it's better to help people than to just do a random project," Kennedy Hug

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT Fairfield business students photo color Fairfield students proving to be future leaders

    FAIRFIELD — At Fairfield High School, students interested in making a career in a business-related field have the chance to join the Fairfield chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a nonprofit organization that helps prepare them for

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National