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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 01/ 9/2011

Banned student play will go on!

By Valerie Strauss

Two high school principals who banned a student-written play critical of New York City reform -- and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chancellor Joel Klein -- have reversed themselves and will allow the work to be staged after all.

The play, titled “Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together)” and based on the Greek tragedy "Antigone," was written by 14 students from two New York City schools -- Jamaica High and Queens Collegiate, which share the same building.

Last month the students were rehearsing for the first performance of the play -- complete with music, visual projections and lights -- when they learned from a teacher working with them that their principals had decided to forbid them from staging the work. The school officials were worried about reaction from Klein and Bloomberg.

A flurry of news reports followed. (I published the complete play on Dec. 23 and you can read it here.) Then a spokeswoman for Klein, Natalie Ravitz, told the New York Daily News that Klein had no problem with the play and that the Education Department had called the school to tell the principals to let the kids stage the play.

Now the principals have seen the light and have reversed their initial unimpressive decision.

The play is about the unequal treatment of two schools that share the same building. The city's Education Department wants to shut the storied Jamaica, which it says has been performing poorly, but keep open the new Collegiate.

It will now be performed at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14th at Jamaica High School's auditorium, and admission is free. Additional performances elsewhere are likely.


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 9, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Arts Education, Student Life  | Tags:  antigone, banned play, jamaica high school, principals reverse decision, student play  
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Next: Latino studies program in Tucson declared illegal


Bravo to the adults who decided to act like adults for a change. Let's hope they all learn something from this...

Posted by: jbeeler | January 9, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Did the students get support of that organization created with their interests in mind:

Posted by: edlharris | January 9, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to the the Students! Thanks for updating us, Valerie and thanks, Ed for the good laugh.

You're right, though, Rhee's website should be the first stop for beleaguered students. And they should all report on the recourse she finds for them.

Posted by: efavorite | January 9, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your hard work Valerie. You are a true reformer.

Posted by: jlp19 | January 10, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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