Boy, am I glad my child doesn’t attend high school in South Williamsport, Pa.! Otherwise, he would not be allowed to watch a high school production of the Tony-award winning play Spamalot that I saw on Broadway in 2009 after its four- year run.
Amusing and clever, the parody was a painless history lesson that featured David Hyde Pierce. The musical was based on the movie “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” The movie contains a subplot about Sir Lancelot, who as a gay man, ends up in a same-sex marriage.
Williamsport High School principal Jesse Smith, cancelled the show because of its supposed gay content.
Not everyone agrees with Smith and had staged a rally this week before the Monday’s Town Board meeting.
You see as far back as June, the principal e-mailed theatrical director Dawn Burch about his reservations regarding scenes in Spamalot. Burch defends the musical, as do I, as suitable for all age groups.
However, Smith’s objections, quoted in The New York Times: “Pennsylvania Principal Cancels Spamalot,” September 23, 2014, stated that “he didn’t want families to be afraid of bringing small kids because of the content” or force students “to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production.”
Golly gee, what kid today doesn’t know that there is (gasp!) such a phenomenon as gay men and gay marriage? They watch television, hear comments from friends. No one is saying that Spamalot is endorsing gay marriage nor is it saying that the viewer must endorse it also.
However, Williamsport High School is not the only offender. The American Civil Liberties Union has found that some public school districts in states such as Arkansas and Pennsylvania have censored LGBT websites so students can not access legitimate information. This web filtering program is discriminatory.
Now that your kids have been in school for over two weeks, you may want to find out what GLBT-friendly programs are in place for your child. So, you can weed out the discriminatory ones.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.