UPDATE: We've just heard that, in apparent retaliation for speaking about the cancellation of the play, drama teacher Dawn Burch, has been just fired. Stay tuned for action alert and letter to the school board.
In a letter sent to the South Williamsport Area School District today, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators urged the South Williamsport Area School District Board to reverse the cancellation of a scheduled March 2015 production of Monty Python's Spamalot at the South Williamsport Junior-Senior High School in Pennsylvania. The play was cancelled after the principal expressed concerns over its “homosexual themes.”
“Professed concerns about the play’s “homosexual themes” do not justify its cancellation,” the letter argues. “It is axiomatic that government officials, including public school officials, may not inhibit the expression of ideas and opinions simply because they dislike or disapprove of them.”
The co-signatories of the letter contend that the cancellation is both constitutionally suspect and discriminatory towards LGBTQ students, parents, and community members. It suggests that controversies over student productions should be handled through encouraging community conversation, not through suppression. The board will meet on September 22 to discuss the issue.
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