Sunday, March 19, 2006
The Play's the Thing and the Whole World is a Stage
Fulton High School drama teacher, Wendy DeVore, was told by Superintendent Mark Enderle that her annual contract may not br renewed for the next school year. But, instead of waiting to be fired, DeVore, 31, a six-year veteran teacher, has chosen to resign writes My Way News.
What did Miss DeVore do that was so heinous to warrant summary dismissal? Certainly she didn't compare President Bush to Hitler in the classroom because that's OK, freedom of speech, you know. Did she have her students pen poison letters to soldiers saying they were murderers for taking part in the War in Iraq? Nope, that's OK, too. That's freedom of speech.
DeVore's innocent little charges were to perform Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," a drama depicting the Salem witch trial of the 17th century. A few members of the Callaway Christian Church had complained about the content of a previous fall musical "Grease" which showed teens smoking, drinking and kissing. (I guess the dancing was OK. Score one for the good guys.) Enderle told her to produce something a little more "family friendly." DeVore then chose "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by the Bard, William Shakespeare, a classic romantic comedy about suicide, rape and losing one's virginity. Sounds like an episode of "The OC" or the "Sopranos" to me, fairly standard teen entertainment.
I don't really care one way or the other in this matter, I have no dog in the fight. The right of the local school board and the citizens of the community should decide what their children are taught is sovereign. But, it seems to me that if Colorado school teacher, Jay Bennish, as covered at Mike's America, can get off without even a wrist slap for demogoguery in his classroom when he was recorded by a student compairing President Bush to Adolph Hitler, then Wendy DeVore should get the same treatment.
If it is alright to spew ones own hateful, biased opinion about the President being as bad as Hitler and America is the number one terrorist nation on planet Earth, as Mr. Bennish has done, and get away scott-free, then Miss Wendy should be able to keep her job producing plays with content available to any high school student in the movie theater, on television, video or DVD. Or indeed, in their own backyard and livingroom.
Jay Bennish should have been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail. Wendy DeVore should have gotten a raise for bringing truly important literary works to a backwater Missouri school. But, that was her crime wasn't it? Educating her students about the greatness of Western civilization. Had Miss Wendy chosen plays denigrating our culture, she would have her job and the school board might have thrown-in a nice foreign made automobile to boot.
In todays Fulton Sun, Mark Sommerhauser, a local reporter, writes that Wendy DeVore tendered her resignation last Wednesday. She quit primarily because of the extent of administrative oversight and the questions her students were asking about Miller's play. DeVore said the students asked, "Why is it something we can read in class but we can't perform?" and "What kinds of shows can we perform in the future?" Miss DeVore continued, “They deserved explanations, and there were things I couldn't give them...It just kind of wore me down.”
But, the show must go on. And, in deed, the show did go on. Helena, played by sophomore Emily Swenson, entreats Demetrius, played by junior Randy Barta, to be kinder to her as she tries to woo him back from Hermia. (Fulton Sun/Colin E. Suchland photo.)
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.