We've heard countless stories about high school administrations that have come down hard against students who support their LGBT classmates. But how many times have we heard of an LGBT-supportive high school administration facing backlash from kids?
In Hartford, Connecticut this weekend, a student theatre group at Hartford Public High School performed a production of Zanna Don't, which boasts a script that features a boy-on-boy kiss. According to CBS Connecticut, the kiss prompted more than a few students to walk out of the show. CBS reported:
"There was a public walkout by a bunch of students [when the kiss happened] ... mostly male," said Adam Johnson, principal of the Government and Law Academy at the high school. "It was visually evident [due to the jerseys the team was wearing] that a lot of football players got up and walked out. It was almost a symbolic kind of thing."
The decision to perform the musical was a conscious effort on behalf of the theatre group to address anti-gay bullying in the school. The show focuses on gay issues and promotes transitions to tolerance and acceptance. The official Zanna Don't website gives a brief synopsis:
Welcome to Heartsville High, set in a world where everyone is gay--well, almost everyone! The big-man-on-campus is the chess champion, and the captain of the football team is made cool by being cast as the lead in the school musical. The students write a controversial show called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" about straight people in the military, which becomes the catalyst for a young man and woman to fall in love. Enter Zanna, a magical, musical fairy who, with a wave of his wand, brings true love to one and all!
I'm impressed that the school even supported the choice of musical. My high school, in suburban Philadelphia, could hardly get Pippin confirmed, let alone something as LGBT-positive as Zanna Don't. It's unfortunate that such a great opportunity to support LGBT high school kids may have been squandered by the students' decision to walk out.