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Stone Bridge Play Offends Some

A student-written, student-directed play that was part of Stone Bridge High School's "Postcards from Paradise" collection of one-act plays that premiered last weekend has got some people steamed.

The play, "Offsides" by Sabrina Jess, featured a scene where two male students appear to kiss. One male student reaches for the other — a football player discovering that he may be gay — just as the lights go out. Before the play began, an announcement was made that the one-act contained material regarding sexuality, and advised audience members to leave the room if they would take offense.

Drama advisor Glen Hochkeppel said the play was about "tolerance," but declined to comment further until an investigation by school principal Jim Person is completed.

In a statement before the School Board Tuesday night, Person took responsibility for the content of the play, saying he had read the script and requested certain changes, which were made.

"I believe this was a sincere reflection of concerns the author had and that the play represented an effort to express those concerns in a mature fashion," Person said. "Maturity is something our students are not often credited with having, but it was my impression that our students handled this topic in a reasonable fashion."

BY MONDAY MORNING, two days after the play's three-day run ended, word of the play's content had already reached Richmond. Del. Richard Black (R-32) e-mailed constituents, urging recipients of the e-mail not to allow their tax dollars to "promote homosexual activity in our schools."

Reached by phone Monday night, Black said, "We all think of schools as good, wholesome places for our children. I was very disappointed that this kind of homoerotic activity is going on."

Black did not attend the play's premiere himself, but said he received many e-mails from constituents who were offended by the material.

In his e-mail, Black had urged constituents to contact Schools Superintendent Edgar Hatrick and School Board members to decry the use of tax dollars for plays like "Offsides" — and parents seem to be taking up the call. Parents have begun organizing an e-mail campaign voicing their disapproval.

Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) — also Black's son-in-law — released statements criticizing the play as well.