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School Is Allowing "Immoral" Theater

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I have two children in high school. Their drama department allows the students to pick the plays that will be performed for the community, and they are choosing immoral plays that contain sexual content and lots of curse words. Are there any guidelines used in the education system that the drama department should follow? Do you have any suggestions about what we can do to fight this? I would prefer not to support the school if they put "trash" on for the community to support, but to help them understand my view is difficult here. Still, I think there are other parents who agree with me. Should I ignore it or voice my opinion?

A: Every school that I am familiar with has guidelines regarding the books that are included in the curriculum, the songs that the music programs will perform, what is allowed in student newspapers, and yearbooks, etc. I am sure that there are guidelines that the drama department consults before it approves the plays performed by its students. Clearly, you strongly disagree with their choice of plays, based upon moral grounds.

I recommend that you and any other parents and members of the community who share your views ask for a meeting with the head of the school's drama department. Please come with an open mind and a desire to discuss and not to lecture him or her about the appropriateness of these plays. If you are not satisfied with his or her explanations, take your concerns to the school principal. The objective here is for you not to be considered an ad hoc censorship committee, but a group of concerned parents and citizens who want an open discourse on how and why plays are chosen to be performed by students for their community. A public school system always needs to be considered a vital part of a community's life. All reasonable discussion and debate regarding how the mission and purpose of a public school's charter will be carried out can only enhance a system of learning and discovery. Let me know what happens.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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