FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A change.org petition with more than 3,300 signatures alleges Carroll High School administrators canceled a school play involving LGBTQ+ characters following complaints from parents.
The play in question is “Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood.” The petition seeks approval for the play to move forward.
According to a post on the petition, which was created by a user “C M,” the play was approved with some modifications before parents and other adults in the Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS) district caught wind of it.
The post alleges complaints were called in about the play’s content, and it was canceled on the second day of auditions due to “safety concerns for the students involved.”
WANE 15 reached out to the chief communications officer for NACS, Lizette Downey, on Sunday afternoon and again on Monday morning.
Downey said she’s looking into it and hopes to have a response soon, but didn’t know when that would happen.
WANE 15 also reached out to NACS School Board President Kent Somers Monday afternoon, hours ahead of a scheduled school board meeting Monday evening.
At-large board member Darren Vogt spoke with WANE 15 on Monday afternoon.
He said he fully agreed with Carroll admins pulling the play, despite theater being an elective no one is forced to participate in.
“We are a K-12 education program, and any time there is a production it should be able to be something that all family members can go and see and not be embarrassed by or anything in their children’s eyes. So, we should make sure that we go and educate our kids and focus on the great arts,” Vogt said. “It’s still a NACS performance, if you know what I mean. So, I would stand by the administration’s decision to pull the play.”
Vogt acknowledged that he’s one of five board members, and that his opinion may not be shared by the other members.
You can read the full post from the petition below:
“Carroll High School planned back in January to put on “Marian: The True Story [sic] of Robin Hood” as their spring drama production this April. The play was approved by a member of administration with some cuts made and greenlit by the director. The play contains queer representation, including a same sex couple and a non-binary character. It was going to be a huge step forward in representation for Carroll’s queer community as well as a lighthearted comedy for people of any identity to enjoy. Auditions went on as planned, with the majority of those auditioning a part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves. Unfortunately, on the second day of auditions, some adults and parents within the NACS community caught wind of the play’s contents and began calling the administration in protest, some using threatening tones. The following morning, the play was called off due to “safety concerns for the students involved”.
We cannot stand for this. As a community, we need to fight for our rights to be ourselves. We need to show students that there is nothing wrong with being who they are unapologetically even in a world filled with hate for what it does not understand. If others want to be violent towards students who are just trying to have fun portraying a story that is real to them, that is on those people. Not the students. We should not be punished for existing.
Please share this with those across the NACS community to gain support. Marian must go on!
The current goal is to get 250+ signatures. We will first send it along with a letter asking the administrator behind the decision to reconsider. If that doesn’t to help, we plan to send it to the school board, and ask them to give us permission to go on with the production. Their next meeting is Monday, February 27th.”