Fun Home.jpg

The play in question, “Fun Home,” is a 2006 graphic memoir by the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

PAWTUCKET – School officials have removed a play from circulation within local schools after accusations that it contained inappropriate themes.

At the school board meeting on Jan. 4, parent Brendon Hall spoke to members about a play that his daughter’s classroom was thinking about reading and acting out but was later removed from the school due to his request and the play’s inappropriate nature.

Hall, the parent of a freshman student at the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, spoke to committee members regarding the play titled “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.”

Hall said that about a month ago, he received a permission slip to approve the play to be signed by him through Google Classroom. He said that he thought it was strange that the permission slip was sent to him in that way, when in the past he has always received them in paper form or by having them sent to his personal email.

“To my shock and my surprise, the contents of the book were horrifying,” Hall said. “It included illustrations of nude women having sex, full-frontal male nudity, topless underage girls, and an adult man enticing underage boys (with) alcohol for sex.”

Hall said he brought the contents of the play and the situation to the attention of the principal and School Committee Member Joanne Bonollo.

“I was very happy that it was immediately removed from the classroom, but I feel as though that is not even enough. The fact that it was even allowed to make its way into a classroom to me is baffling, and what kind of teacher would give that to their students to inevitably perform a play, and what would that play look like if someone had not intervened?” Hall said. “I think it’s absolutely unacceptable and disgusting and I think further action should be taken so that this does not happen again and to protect the innocence of our children.”

Supt. Cheryl McWilliams said the play that was in question was up for consideration to be read in a dramatic literature class at JMW.

“Before the play entered the classroom, permission slips were sent home, and the JMW director spoke with parents and I,” she said. “After these discussions, it was decided that the play would not be read in the classroom. The play was never read by students in class, and was not available for other students in the building to read on their own.”

School Committee Chairwoman Erin Dube said the committee has a policy governing instructional materials in the classroom, including how they are chosen and how they can be challenged. She stated any changes to this policy would be brought about by a member asking the policy subcommittee to review and modify it.

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