Nevada High School Parents Sue to Stop Students From Performing 'Rent'

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

Parents at a Nevada high school are suing the school to stop productions of "The Laramie Project" and "Rent," the smash Broadway hit which had a standing ovation on its closing night, pictured above. Credit: Getty Images

Four parents at Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nev. are suing the school to stop students from performing "Rent" and "The Laramie Project." Both plays feature gay characters and the parents say that the subject matter is "not suitable for students."

On the surface the argument isn't a bad one. According to Courthouse News Service, "Parents Dalene Hicks, Jenny Calderon, James Perkins and Tiffany Turpin complain that Green Valley High School's plans to stage the shows violates the Clark County School District's policies that forbid 'R' rated material from being presented to students."

Here is a trailer for the film version of "Rent," which was based on the Broadway hit:

Clearly something no teenager should see, right? Now, to be fair, the show does include characters such as the HIV-positive former drug addict Roger; Mimi, a drug addict with AIDS; Tom Collins, a gay activist with AIDS, and other interesting folks. Most troubling is Mark, who does not have AIDS, but is a documentary filmmaker. Ahh! Children who see this show might become inspired to be the next Michael Moore!

Interestingly, the issue of potentially inappropriate content in "Rent" has been addressed. According to a Wikipedia entry, "Rent: School Edition" is a modified version of the Broadway musical that "eliminates some of the coarse language and tones down some public displays of affection of the original." That last part means guys kissing guys, in case you were curious. (Or bi-curious. Ba-dum-bum.)

Even that version, however, was not warmly received by some parents, and was only tested at a few schools. News reports do not say whether or not the Green Valley High School production is the "School Edition" or the regular one.

The other play is "The Laramie Project", which tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay young man who was brutally murdered near Laramie, Wyo. The script consists of interviews that the director did with residents of the town.

Here is a trailer from the HBO version of the play:

Serious topic. But not exactly pornographic.

None of these subjects is unknown to teenagers. According to its Wikipedia entry, Green Valley High School has some budding artists -- here is an episode of "GatorReels," an Internet video series produced by students at the school.

Notice the drug addict who turns out to be "mentally retarded?" Without judging the quality of the writing, it's pretty clear that the kids know what drugs are. They probably know what gay people are as well. Keeping these plays out of the school won't keep them from learning about these subjects.

Related: Photo of Girl in Tux Banned From Yearbook

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.