The Ottumwa Courier

July 13, 2013

Don't deny theatrical production

Ottumwa Courier

---- — I am a 2008 graduate of Ottumwa High School and some unsettling news was brought to my attention. The superintendent of the Ottumwa Schools has decided not to give permission to the OHS Drama department to perform the show “The Laramie Project."

For those that are unfamiliar, it is an incredibly poignant show about the brutal killing of a homosexual young man and the unprecedented effect it had on the town that he was raised in. The show is gritty, beautiful and simultaneously breaks down and restores your faith in humanity. Regardless of your beliefs on homosexuality, this show is, to me, a statement on how people’s lives and deaths have such a profound effect on one another.

I was under the impression that we were far past not allowing thought-provoking pieces in our schools. There was a time when most of the books that have become a staple in high school English classes were on a “ban list."

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.

Please, I ask only that you look into the real reasons that this incredible show has been denied. To deny a high school that on a daily basis wrestles with bullying, a show with such a positive message of acceptance and kindness is such a heartwrenching injustice.

Kayla Rowe