Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Ohio High School Cancels Play After Furor Over LGBTQ+ Character

Ryan and Chris Cronan of Hillsboro High School play

A high school in Ohio canceled its fall play after some parents and a local pastor met with the play’s directors over elements in the production, including the sexual orientation of a character.

Drama students at Hillsboro High School in Highland County practiced for weeks for their upcoming production of She Kills Monsters, according to TV station WKRC.

“I am beyond livid,” Chris Cronan, a high school junior and actor in the play, told the station. “We worked very hard on this play — we had a lot of people in that school who are in the LBGTQ community.”

Cronan told station WCPO, “It felt like we had just been told, ‘Screw off and your lives don’t matter.’ I am openly bisexual in that school and I have faced a lot of homophobia there, but I never expected them to cancel a play for a fictional character.”

The play, by Qui Nguyen, is set in Ohio and follows events that happen after a woman’s 15-year-old sister dies in a car wreck. The woman then tries to learn more about her sister, discovering her sister’s Dungeons and Dragons campaign and that her sister might have had a girlfriend.

She Kills Monsters has been a popular production for high schools and colleges, according to WKRC.

About two weeks ago, some parents and a local pastor confronted the play’s directors. The pastor, Jeff Lyle, also spoke to them after the meeting.

Several parents said that Lyle pressured the school to cancel the play.

In an email to the WKRC, Lyle said he did attend the meeting but did not go to the school board. He added, “from a Biblical worldview this play is inappropriate for a number of reasons, e.g. sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity between unmarried persons, repeated use of foul language including taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

A parent with a daughter and son in the play, Jon Polstra, said his kids were disappointed about the cancelation.

“It was inappropriate for them to do and it was a wrong thing for the school to have allowed that influence to cause them to make the decision to cancel the show,” he said.

In a statement to WKRC, Hillsboro City Schools Superintendent Tim Davis said, “The fall play has been canceled this year because the play was not appropriate for our K-12 audience.”

Cronan’s father, Ryan, said, “They want to say the town is just not ready, but how are you not ready? It's 2021.”

Polstra’s other son, Zebadiah Pickering-Polstra, began a GoFundMe to raise about $6,000 for the play to be produced over the summer. The campaign has currently raised more than $14,000.

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