|Former Ottumwa City High|
Principal Mark Hanson
In Iowa, 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn of Primghar killed himself last year after coming out to his classmates, who had taunted him on Facebook. The documentary “Bully” brought national attention to Sioux City public schools around the same time. After the “Laramie” production at Valley, former Gov. Chet Culver visited the school to sign a bill to ban bullying in all Iowa schools.
So Ottumwa students say it’s hard to understand why school administrators wouldn’t want them to produce a play that confronts those issues head-on.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Jordan Young, a junior in the thespian group. “This is a show that deals specifically with bullying and the outcome that it had on an entire town because of one bullying incident. If they’re trying to get rid of bullying, then why would they say ‘no’ to this show?”
...Ottumwa resident Pam Schulz, who has nine grandchildren in Ottumwa schools, was relieved to learn that the play will not be a high school production.
“When I saw the article in the paper, I thought, ‘Well, that’s certainly the right approach,’ ” she said. “That’s not a play that should be promoted for any family entertainment.