Middle-school principal yanks play dubbed too mature for students
Eighth-grade drama students were set to perform a controversial play, but the school pulled the plug on the performance.
BY YUDY PINEIRO
Principal yanks play dubbed too mature
It was supposed to be opening night for the eighth-grade drama magnet students of Southwood Middle.
But instead of performing the politically charged play My Name is Rachel Corrie on Friday night, the students were told to recite their choice of monologues.
School officials called off the play, saying the subject -- about a young American activist who died in 2003 under the wheels of an Israeli bulldozer as she fought for Palestinian rights -- was too mature for middle school-age children.
''Because of the nature of the subject and the possibility that it could offend many people, the principal decided to take it off,'' said John Schuster, spokesman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Lenita O'Rourke, whose 13-year-old daughter Shelley O'Rourke was supposed to perform the monologue from the play, does not agree with the school's decision.
''They're in a drama program,'' said O'Rourke. ``They need to be open to anything.''
Earlier this year, My Name is Rachel Corrie -- which won critical acclaim during the two years it played in London theaters -- also caused an upheaval when it was suspended from an Off-Broadway theater showing in New York.
The play tells about Rachel, an American activist who traveled to Gaza as part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization set up to support Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israel's military occupation.
She was killed on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D-9 that was bulldozing a Palestinian home. To many Palestinians, she instantly became a martyr. Some Americans labeled her a traitor. Much of Israel dismissed the story.
''This is not just a Southwood Middle School thing,'' Schuster said, adding ``It's very advanced material and even though many of our kids there are very advanced, the principal didn't find it appropriate at the time.''
While many of the eighth-grade drama students admitted feeling defeated, they said they were hopeful about the school's promise to revisit the issues with the play at a later time.
''When they explained to us that now is not a good time, I think we understood,'' said Shelley O'Rourke. ``Maybe when things are different in the world.''
(The play was yanked because it's garbage, promoting a stupid, anarchist girl who was not a peace activist and was trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying a weapons smuggling tunnel. The principal deserves a medal for seeing this as a misuse of his school for propaganda purposes against Israel by ISM types in Florida. Readers should write the principal and thank him or her for this descision. Stop the ISM will display the Rachel Corrie video soon.)