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Kudos to TASD, teacher over controversial play

March 10th, 2019 by Gazette Staff in Opinion Editorial

Many readers will recall the 1989 film "Heathers" starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.

It was a dark comedy that dealt with issues such as bullying and school violence—issues that have become somewhat more controversial today in the wakes of several tragic shootings. Indeed, many school districts across the country have a "no tolerance" policy that applies to even jokes about school violence.

Here in Texarkana, students from Arkansas High School planned to put on a production of "Heathers: The Musical," a stage version based on the film.

But the Texarkana, Ark., School District decided a month into rehearsals that the play was inappropriate and pulled approval. AHS drama teacher Laila Al-Dubai and her students decided to press on with the production. They presented the play off campus, without association with TASD, on Friday and Saturday.

We think both TASD and Al-Dubai handled this exceptionally well. And that's a fine example for the students. Often, in other cities, disputes in school result in shouting, accusations, threats and lawsuits. TASD and Al-Dubai worked together, compromised and found a solution. The outcome here was a win-win for all—the district, the teacher, the students and those who attended the show.

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