Rowlett Parents Call for Curtain Call on “Rent”

Parents say musical inappropriate for high school audience

The parents of some Rowlett High School students said the school's choice of musical glamorizes drug use and homosexuality.

A group of parents voiced opposition to a production of Tony Award-winning musical "Rent" at a Garland Independent School District meeting on Thursday night.

The musical tells the story of friends living in New York City's East Village and features openly gay characters who face AIDS, drug addiction and homelessness.

Some parents and a local pastor say the play is inappropriate.

Parent Michael Gallop pulled his son from participating in the production when he learned the show featured cussing, same-sex kissing and what he called "social irresponsibility."

But Julie Clark, the treasurer for the school's theater booster club, said Rowlett High is using an edited version of "Rent" that does not contain same-sex kissing.

Garland ISD said a script review committee unanimously voted to move forward with the production of the musical. The committee edited the script to make it appropriate for a high school audience.

"We've never said it's anything below a PG-13 level," Clark said. "We never expected people to bring small children. I think they also know, it's a show," Clark said.

The district touted the musical as a way to teach students tolerance and acceptance.

"I don't think it's the school's place to teach my child diversity or tolerance of a lifestyle that I don't accept," said Gallop.

Gallop said he hopes the school district will decide to stop the production, which is scheduled to be performed at the end of January.

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