Parents in Zillah Upset After Romeo and Juliet Play on Monday
The principal at Zillah Middle School has apologized in a letter to parents about a live performance of Romeo and Juliet at a Zillah church on Thursday. You can hear the audio of one of the parent Bridget Johnson's interview on our "Good Morning Yakima" news show below.
ONE PARENT SAYS HER SON WAS DISGUSTED AT WHAT HE SAW
Mike Torres says in the letter that reads in part "the activity was intended to be a reinforcement of the Romeo and Juliet unit that they have been studying in their classes. The performance by the Seattle Shakespeare Company that took place was not done in a manner that we anticipated."
A parent of an 8th grade student at the school, Bridget Johnson, contacted KIT News on Thursday saying she received a message from her son at school Monday saying he was "disgusted" and didn't want to see what the play depicted.
He told his mother "they had Juliet & Juliet, and they kissed [each other] 6 times." Torres tells KIT News she and her son had no idea the Seattle Shakespeare Company had changed the play with Juliet being referred to "as a male."
PARENTS SAY THEY WEREN'T TOLD OF THE CHANGE IN THE PLAY
Parents like Bridget Johnson say they received a message from the school on Monday that students would be attending a play at Zillah Church of Nazarene but she says there was no mention of "transgender rights" or any change in the traditional play. Johnson says she's upset her son was "exposed to this while attending school."
THE LETTER SENT TO PARENTS OF STUDENTS AT ZILLAH MIDDLE SCHOOL
After the play, Zillah Middle School Principal, Mike Torres, sent this letter to parents and guardians:
"This morning our 8th grade students were taken to a live performance of Romeo and Juliet. This activity was intended to be a reinforcement of the Romeo and Juliet unit that they have been studying in their ELA classes. The performance by the Seattle Shakespeare Company that took place this morning was not done in a manner that we anticipated.
There were some scenes and back-drop art depictions that may have caused students to feel uncomfortable. As mentioned, our intent was to provide an educational extension of the classroom curriculum, and I apologize if any of our students were negatively impacted.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss any concerns, please feel free to contact me at 509-829-4036."
THE PRINCIPAL SAYS HE CONTACTED THE THEATRE COMPANY
Torres says he contacted the company but wouldn't give any details about the conversation and he plans no further action. Seattle Shakespeare Company officials were not available for comment on Thursday.
Torres says the Zillah Church of the Nazarene had nothing to do with the performance. e says the school was simply using the church space for the event.
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