The Show Must Go On: Tell PGCPS to Stop Discriminating Against LGBT Families

  • by: James McGonnigal
  • recipient: Prince George's County Public School Administration

On May 2nd, the Hyattsville Middle School was set to open their production of the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." The children had rehearsed for 3 months, giving up evenings and weekends to put all the final touches on their production of this beloved family musical. Parents had spent hundreds of dollars on costumes and props, and driven kids to and from dozens of rehearsals. And most importantly, these kids had found a community of loving, supportive peers and teachers who encouraged their desire to create art.

Then a parent complained. We don't know specifically what the parent complained about, but students were told the complaint was about the portrayal of a married gay couple in the play.

One of the characters has gay dads and they appear briefly in the show. Concerned parents have been told several different reasons for the cancellation, and the PGCPS have contradicted their own reasoning on multiple occasions, obviously knowing the negative repercussions of cancelling due to the LGBT family being portrayed.

In 2019, as a gay parent, it's important that my son be able to see families like his represented. The idea that this is even a controversial topic, or that my family could be seen as "profane" by Prince George's County Public Schools is frankly abhorrent.

Please tell the Prince George's County Public Schools to reverse this unfair decision and allow the show to go on. These children and our families deserve nothing less.

Update #34 months ago
The show is tonight! Thank you so much for your support. You've sent a wonderful message to the kids at this school - especially the young LGBTQ folks who sometimes don't feel like their school has their back. Very special thanks to the original Broadway cast members who sent along a special video to the students in the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g3Bv9fTxDc

We still have a lot of work to do with this county's school administration, but knowing we have your support is incredible!
Update #25 months ago
THE SHOW WILL GO ON! We've been informed that the Hyattsville Middle School production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will be moved to mid-May, and will be performed with a "disclaimer" about "profanity, racial jokes and sexual innuendo."

Thank you all so much for showing up for these kids and showing them the community has their back, even when the school administration does not. I will be first in line for a ticket and hope to see my fellow community members there as well.
Update #15 months ago
If you're in the DMV area, tune in tonight at 11pm to ABC-7 WJLA - they're doing a story on the cancellation of the show!

And please keep sharing the petition! Thanks for all your support thus far!
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