Hampshire High School halts performance of musical with LGBTQ+ themes for safety reasons

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A musical with LGBTQ+ themes that was scheduled to be performed by Hampshire High School students has been halted due to the district expressing concerns for the safety of the students.

The decision to disallow the performance was met with disdain from student performers and their parents, who believe that canceling the performance sends the wrong message, saying that not allowing the performance is silencing the voices of the LGBTQ+ community.

The district's superintendent released a statement acknowledging that the district was reconsidering its decision on the musical due to the "strong support received," adding that a comprehensive safety plan would need to be developed.

“They should be the ones implementing something. It’s not the students responsibility to keep themselves safe," Jillian Vanderheyden, a senior at Hampshire High School said.

The superintendent acknowledged that he had seen numerous instances of hateful language and acts toward those involved in the musical, including:

  • Community members seeking to “out” students involved in our Gay Straight Alliance,
  • Hate-filled emails regarding the district’s Day of Silence, and 
  • Threats and inappropriate comments from community members related to last month’s LGBTQ+ Learning Space meeting held at a District 300 school.

The final decision on the musical is expected on Thursday, when students are scheduled to meet with the superintendent.

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