Ah Middle School…

Remember middle school? I don’t know about you, but I was busy being fitted for my nun’s habit and embracing anyone who was different from me. What? You don’t have Guess jeans and wear your t-shirt tucked into your jeans so you can show off the wee triangle on your ass? Well, the rest of us are doing it but join us anyway because everyone knows adolescent girls are all about inclusion and acceptance. I’m pretty sure this is still the life of the middle school student, right? I mean, MTV and myspace are not available to anyone under eighteen and the school playground is filled with hugs, rainbows, sunshine and fluffy ducklings.

Sherwood Middle School is this sort of an idyllic place. So idyllic in fact, the school’s principal felt that a play about bullying and written by one of the school’s teachers was inappropriate and some of the subject matter was too mature. I said it was about bullying, right? Well the main character might or might not be gay and is bullied for dancing with one of his male friends. Not to worry, the bullying is equal opportunity. Latinas, fat kids, smart kids, everyone gets some of the bullying action. (I know, right, what the hell are we teaching kids? That the world is a tough place and a lot like middle school?!?) The principal, being a true diplomat, took it up with the students. She told them that they either had to revise it, or the play would be canceled. The kids stood their ground and the play was canceled.

Here’s the some of the principal’s reasoning, from The Tigard Times, “‘The issues that are raised are extremely sensitive,” she said. “They’re poignant, they’re hurtful and I’m not convinced students are ready to view the play as it is.'”

All I know is, when I write a play for middle school kids, it’s going to be about the importance screaming and pointing whenever you see someone different than you are. That and the literary value of slam books.

Oregonian story here.

My pal Recovering Straight Girl wrote great post on her blog and I would have never known this was happening if I wasn’t a loyal reader of hers. She also has a list of other media covering this story.

2 Comments so far

  1. Recovering Straight Girl (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    Thank you Melissa. I hope people will express their opinions on this issue to those who need to hear it.


  2. Cathy (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

    That principal has a lot to learn about her students. I reckon they would handle the subject matter just fine, thank you very much. They know what’s happening and they know when they’re being conned.



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