Had enough? Citizens, take back your government!

Letters to editor to celebrate play, intimidate critics

The following letters were printed in the Acton Beacon newspaper in the weeks following the parents' forum on "The Laramie Project" pro-homosexual play.

Why would a person publicly support a school production that they knew was deeply offensive to people, demeaned their religious beliefs, and would cause them pain because of the hysteria generated against them by the play?  And not to mention, a play extremely vulgar and profane, is meant to make kids question their parents' values, and leads kids to homosexual websites?

We don't know the answere to that. But these letters are clearly meant to not-so-subtly intimidate anyone who would publicly criticize it. It's mostly the usual emotional blather, without substance, calculated for its own psychological effect.

But moreover , the arguments about "inclusion", "tolerance", and "inclusion" in these letters are completely phony and logically incoherent. They are a slick smokescreen for the writers' own animosity against religious members of their community. If these people want to see the "haters" and "bigots" they should just look in the mirror.

Support for ‘Laramie’
Oct. 10, 2007

As the parent of a student at ABRHS and as a teacher in Acton, I’d like to thank Superintendent Bill Ryan and the School Committee for their support of the production of “The Laramie Project.” I'm glad to teach in a community where the administration is willing to allow painful and difficult truths to be told. I appreciate teaching in a district where critical thinking skills are valued, and where we value human dignity — everyone's.

My only dismay was in regard to the "forum" that was held on Oct. 3 at the high school. When I first glanced at the article announcing the forum, I thought to myself that this could be a meaningful opportunity to talk about some important issues with other members of the community. As I reread the announcement however, it became apparent to me from the one sided choice of speakers that this was not to be a forum for fair-minded discussion of the topic, with open hearted listening.

I am eager to see the “The Laramie Project,” though I know it will be gut wrenching as well. Some of my former students will be on stage those nights, and I give them, Linda Potter, the other members of the cast and crew and their families, a great deal of credit. They deserve credit for grappling up close with these difficult issues, as well as having had to face head on the fear and hate that has been directed their way from numerous sources.

My hope would be that we could all come away from this production enlightened, and more committed to working together to make our community a place where injustice is not tolerated and where we have the courage to examine without fear and hatred what might be unfamiliar to us.

Cheryl Breslin

PC should be commended
Oct. 10, 2007

Proscenium Circus [the school drama group] is to be commended for selecting “The Laramie Project” for its fall performance. It is heartening to read that both the high school administration and the Acton-Boxborough School Committee supported this choice.

We can best serve our children and prepare them for the world by teaching and exemplifying inclusion and tolerance and nurturing the development of personal values that acknowledge and value diversity.

This high school production provides the opportunity for our students to add their collective voice to the quest for inclusion and the acceptance of differences. History, and regrettably current affairs, provide us with too many reminders of the pain and suffering caused by discrimination against, and victimization of, minorities.

There is no place for bigotry in the Acton-Boxborough High School and we applaud our school system and its leadership for their support of “The Laramie Project,” an all-too painful reminder of these dangers.

Vera and Nigel Godley
Wood Lane

Acton, Mass. - Play offers an opportunity
Oct 17, 2007

A critical part of education is not only acquiring knowledge, but also placing that knowledge in the context of the larger world. Quality education demands that we ask questions, look at information critically, and attempt to understand its broader implications, moving beyond family and home to community and finally to the larger world.

“The Laramie Project” presents an opportunity for us all to engage in conversation about difficult issues when our children are opening up to a world where their values and perceptions will be challenged. It is incumbent upon us to help insure that our children have the tools to navigate.

Within the framework of the school community, the staging of “The Laramie Project” offers us an opportunity to articulate our own views on race, ethnicity, religion, class and homosexuality, and to engage our youth in constructive debate about these issues in a supportive and tolerant setting.

Thank you to Linda Potter, the ABRHS faculty, the School Committee, and the students and families involved in this play’s production, for utilizing the power of the theatre to take on this difficult challenge.

Michelle Samour

Drama dept. 2nd to none
Oct 17, 2007

I’m writing to applaud and wholeheartedly commend Linda Potter, the Acton-Boxborough Theater Department, and the entire Acton-Boxborough Regional High School for what they are doing with “The Laramie Project.” Truly inspired drama deals with important, vital and thought-provoking ideas. By taking on “The Laramie Project,” Acton-Boxborough has made its drama program one of first class integrity and daring.

Acton-Boxborough’s high school sport programs are known throughout Massachusetts for their excellence year after year, as are many of its other extracurricular and scholastic activities. Now our drama department can join them in achievement. This is just one more example of how the Acton-Boxborough Regional School System is serving its students. We now have a drama department that is second to none in the state.

Ooh-rah and Semper Fi — from a former US Marine, a film director and writer, and a proud parent of two children in the Acton Elementary School system.

Sean Coughlin
Charter Road

[Links to Oct.17 letters.]

[Links to Oct.10 letters.]