Texas School Board Faces Backlash for Excluding Trans Actor from Play in PG Content Controversy

A Texas school board has made a significant decision to bring back the original cast and script for Sherman High School’s production of “Oklahoma!” after facing controversy over restrictions that affected a transgender student’s role.

Acknowledging the Impact

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Brad Morgan, President of the Sherman Independent School District Board of Trustees, expressed understanding of the community’s concerns and assured their commitment to embracing diversity and empowering students.

Student-Led Performance

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Sherman High School students had planned to showcase “Oklahoma!” in December, but the school district intervened, citing concerns about “mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content.”

Postponing the Production

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Last week, the district postponed the musical, reviewing all aspects, including staging and casting, to ensure suitability for a high school audience.

Unveiling the New Policy

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A notable policy change emerged, specifying that casting decisions would align with the gender identified in the script based on students’ sex at birth.

Impact on Transgender Students

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Phillip Hightower revealed that his transgender son, Max, lost a significant role due to the new gender policy, causing distress among the affected students.

Shocking Revelation

The principal informed Hightower about the policy, stating that only males could play male roles and vice versa, based on their sex at birth.

Crushing Disappointment

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Max, passionate about theatre, experienced a heartbreaking removal from a major role, leaving him and his fellow classmates devastated.

“Crushed” at the Decision

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Hightower shared the family’s shock at the decision, “I was really shocked and stunned,” he said before revealing his child “was crushed,” questioning the legality of the whole thing.

District’s Revised Statement

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In response to the public outcry, the school district revised its position, opting for a different, “age-appropriate” version of the play, where gender would not be a decisive factor in casting.

Unanimous School Board Decision

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Following a public comment session, the school board unanimously voted to overrule the district’s decision and revert to the original cast and script.

National Trend in School Districts

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Dr. Jennifer Katona from the Educational Theatre Association said, “Last spring when there were many states proposing anti-drag bills, many school districts took action,” blaming them for using the laws to push their anti-LGBTQ agenda.

Harmful Consequences

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The restrictions imposed by districts like Sherman ISD are viewed as harmful and damaging to individual students, the school community, and LGBTQIA+ students at large.

Partial Repair

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Katona did take a moment to praise the district for their reversal on the policy but still admitted it was “only partially repaired.”

Call for a Safe Space

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According to Katona, educational theatre should remain a safe space for all students’ growth and learning.

The post Texas School Board Faces Backlash for Excluding Trans Actor from Play in PG Content Controversy first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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