Laramie Project Posters Vandalized As Show Approaches

Dakin: “We were right to start the conversation.”

Laramie Project Posters Vandalized As Show Approaches

Image obtained from http://alisonrowan.bigcartel.com/product/11x17-buy-a-dictionary-poster

Reagan Reed, Staff Writer

Central Hardin’s Drama Club has bravely decided to take on a controversial piece to perform: The Laramie Project. This is a very mature play, containing sensitive material about the murder of a gay college student in 1998, and the pain he was put through. Not many people could handle such sore subject matter as well as it’s being handled by the cast and crew, and pretty much anyone else remotely involved. However, despite how well it’s being prepared and supported, it is also being attacked by students tearing down the posters promoting the play.

During the weeks before fall break, a small number of students have taken it upon themselves to rip down several signs that have something to do with The Laramie Project. Someone even went as far as shoving one the posters down a boys’ bathroom toilet, according to English teacher Susan Sherrard. 

Sarah Dakin, sponsor of the drama club and leader of the play, didn’t believe this was like an organized attack against the play like some might think. 

Instead, she said, “There are almost two thousand people in this building. Sometimes it’s just jerks in a crowded hallway that pull things down.” 

Principal Tim Isaacs shared a similar thought about the tearing down of the posters.

“Kids think they’re funny, and they’re cute. When you’re dealing with teenagers, they make poor decisions sometimes… As far as I know it was fairly isolated.”

Nonetheless, Dakin said her response to this aggression will be to simply just put up more posters each time they get torn down, and she’s going to keep trying to get the message behind the play out into the school. Also, Isaacs said they will try to punish the students accordingly. 

“If students are damaging things that don’t belong to them then that’s how we would proceed there,” Isaacs said. “Students should leave posters alone in the hallways, they are put up there for a purpose.”

Dakin also thinks it might be a signal to the administration that they were right to start the conversation these posters created. The posters include harsh language of names and insults students call each other daily, and also a list of other words that they suggest you use to refer to something other than calling it “gay.” 

If students are seeing the signs and thinking to themselves, That’s something I say, to her that means the talk needs to happen so people can understand how their words affect people. The language on the posters was actually taken from a session held over the summer by a few teachers about social skills and reflect on genuine interactions that happen daily between students. 

Another thing Dakin thought about the reason behind the mistreatment of the posters was the fact that the students tearing them down think what they’re doing is okay. 

“People don’t like to think that what they’re doing is wrong, or else they wouldn’t do it,” Dakin said. That’s the point Dakin and students involved with the play are trying to make: to let people know it’s not okay. There needs to be a certain amount of inclusion and respect, and students need to realize you can’t just say, “School spirit for everyone, except this one group of people.”

Even though the backlash against the posters has taken the forefront of talk about the play, Dakin very strongly emphasized how much support they have been getting. The school, the administration, the parents, all of them have been so supportive of the play despite the controversy and the seriousness. They approved every script change to make it more appropriate for a school setting and defended the play every time posters were torn down.

The students and teachers involved in this play have worked so hard to get a good message across and put on a well produced show, so please go and support by seeing The Laramie Project, which starts performances on Friday.