Thursday, March 22, 2007

School Officials Make Wise Decision to Protect and Educate Students

Excerpted from School Disinvites Comedy Troupe, by Lisa Black, published Mar 19, 2007, by Chicago Tribune (Hat tip: Americans for Truth)

Highland Park High School officials who fear that a sketch comedy troupe’s material is not appropriate for students have rescinded an invitation for the group to perform during a three-day arts festival in April…

The chairwoman of Highland Park’s Fine Arts Department “was concerned at the point she received a description of their presentation,” said Suzan Hebson, assistant superintendent for human resources. She said the discussions occurred at least a month before the Deerfield controversy erupted.

“I understand they had concerns recognizing this is an educational classroom environment and not a nightclub entertainment sort of function,” Hebson said.

Last week, DeGrazia shared some sketches with administrators, agreeing to cancel a skit that was deemed offensive. The skit portrayed a militaristic high school drum major who is gay but overly defensive in insisting he’s not gay, while none of the other band members care.

Comic Thread performed at the 2005 Focus event, and school officials objected to a skit called “Great Moments in Amish Pornography.” The theme song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” blared as an Amish woman revealed her ankles and an Amish man lowered his suspender straps, DeGrazia said...

Two years ago, school board member Joel Hurwitz took issue with administrators sharing complaints about Comic Thread with the group.

“The material is not new to our students or beyond their maturity level,” wrote Hurwitz, a lawyer, who could not be reached Friday for further comment. “Our Fine Arts Department has not achieved excellence by censoring performances to satisfy the sensitivities of fringe elements within our community who are uncomfortable with mainstream culture.”