Over the weekend I received the following email from a concerned Marshall school district parent:

“Hello Renk,

Perhaps you've heard about this already but an elective class at Marshall Middle School assigned students a project recently. They had to pick from a list of plays and complete the assignment based on their choice. I've attached screenshots that the parent shared containing scenes from the play her son picked. I’ll warn you - it is disgusting.

This did not have anything to do with my student, but any parent with an ounce of concern would be alarmed that this was assigned to a middle school student.

The school released a letter (only after the FB firestorm hit) but the damage was already done. How would any teacher or curriculum director think this was ok? I think this needs more attention in order to hold the school accountable.”

I did not know this happened because no news organization reported about it.  Perhaps they did not report it because they also were not informed.

The 7th-grade students who took this course were given the assignment to choose one of 14 plays and were told to write a paper on their choice.  One choice was a play called “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner.  Interesting that Tony choose the word “Angels” to put in the title when it is filled with filth.

Here is a short summary from a site called coursehero.com:

“Meanwhile, Joe, a Mormon, Republican, closeted gay lawyer, is being groomed for career success by closeted gay lawyer and power broker Roy Cohn. Joe is married to a woman, Harper, and is in denial about his sexual desires. Roy has sex with men but is determined to keep it a secret. Roy offers Joe a job in Washington, D.C. The job offer puts a strain on Joe's marriage to Harper, a relationship already burdened by her tranquilizer addiction and his secret homosexuality. Harper often retreats into fantasy. In a "mutual dream scene," she and Prior meet and discuss their lives.‘

From the excerpts I read this book has no place to be given to high school students as an assignment let alone 7th graders.  What was in the mind of this teacher and why were there no procedures in place to stop this?  Or did this teacher just ignore the procedures?

This book was so bad when enough parents complained to the Marshall school district, Kelly Fitzpatrick, the Director of Curriculum & Instruction issued the following letter to the parents:

In fact, this Marshall school district middle school teacher never informed the students and parents about a sequel to Tony Kushner’s first book titled “Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes”.  The parents and the school district should really ask themselves what this teacher was attempting to do.

The parents of children in the Marshall Public Schools should wonder what controls or procedures does the school district actually has over the lessons taught in their classroom.  Why was it the parents who had to alert the school district on what was being taught in the classroom?

It appears better controls must be put in place and if a teacher or administrator does not follow them they should be asked to leave their job.

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