Teaching Drama

Student Play Policy Makes No Sense

The infamous school production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile (I wrote briefly about it here) just went up. In the wake of the controversy, the La Grande School Board has drafted a set of policies and procedures to determine if a play is suitable to be performed in one of their schools. The criteria includes:

  • The selection reasonably addresses identifiable educational objectives for the students involved.
  • The selection is consistent with school district policies.
  • The selection does not contain material that is likely to be disruptive of school activities, or breaches the separation between church and state.

I think that art, by its very nature, isn’t quantifiable. Every “rule” in art has dozens of exceptions. So how can one come up with a checklist to determine if a play is “appropriate”?

The kicker of the whole thing is this:

Some at the board meeting asked if “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” would have been approved under the proposed new policy. Glaze said that there is no way to tell since several subjective judgments would have to be made in the selection process under the proposed policy.

No way to tell? Really? What’s the point of the policy, then? I feel for the board; I really do. They seem to be trying to placate everybody at once. But pleasing everybody is a fool’s errand.


About the author

Craig Mason