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Mar 24 2007 - 10:01 AM
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King
The New York Times reports how the administration at Connecticut's Wilton High School has stopped students from staging the production of their play about the Iraq War. While I generally try to remain skeptical and broad minded, I have a hard time seeing the side of the administration. (read more) While I understand that this type of play may bring about some bad publicity for the school, while I understand that an administration is within its rights to exert control over what happens at a school, and while I understand that schools oftentimes have to look at for the best interests of students (even interests that students themselves cannot readily see) I can't understand how one can be blind to the educative potential of this type of event. The school seems to make two arguments against the play. First, the school worries about honoring the memory of those who served and are serving in the war. Second, the school worries that students aren't ready to hear about a topic like the war, especially when the information is coming from their peers. Both seem fallacious. First, the students are reading accounts of the war written by the soldiers themselves. Moreover, the problem of honoring the living and the dead in artistic accounts is a real moral and aesthetic problem that schools should help students struggle with. Barring students from exploring this problem altogether doesn't seem the appropriate thing. Second, I may be wrong here, but I believe that students are very intelligent and very mature. And if this belief is wrong, it is a fact that they will be forced to mature the moment they graduate from high school. As such, I believe that students are ready to critically examine the student play, and I know that they will live in a world where they will be held accountable for the results of the war. Why shouldn't they then be given the opportunity to see the play and then: ignore it, agree with it, disagree with it; think about it more? Where is the real danger? Shouldn't a school be proud of the fact that their students are at least making an effort–even if it is tinged with emotion, even if it is potentially less mature than it could be, even if it may embarrass?
Posted in: FYI|By: Jeff Frank|26190 Reads