Some North Carolina students are upset after their school canceled a production of a play that contains gay themes.
"Almost, Maine," a drama production about love and relationships, contains a scene involving a same-sex romance. At Maiden High School, production was already underway when the school board decided to cancel the show, reports WSOC-TV.
In a statement, the school's principal, Robert Bliss, told the station that he gave the play careful consideration, but, "The play contained sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos that are not aligned with our mission and educational objectives ... As principal of Maiden High School, I have an obligation to ensure that all material, including drama performances is appropriate and educationally sound for students of all ages."
However, the play's student director, Conner Baker, told the Hickory Daily Record that students had worked with the school administration to get permission to do the play.
"We received approval from our principal and the school's superintendent to do this play. We also had to have every student's parent sign a permission slip before they could audition. We did this, auditioned everyone and started rehearsals," Baker wrote in an email to the outlet. "Word had spread throughout the community that there were homosexual characters in our play. There were complaints from different churches and multiple parents of students."
ThinkProgress reports that only one student was prevented from auditioning because of an inability to get the permission slip signed. Rehearsals had been going on for about a week when students learned the show was canceled, the HDR reported.
Ty Simmons, a student who was in the play, told the Hickory Daily Record that he believes the play was canceled in response to controversy about the same-sex romance. However, he said he understands why the principal made that decision.
"It's all about sports here, and drama is really on the back burner," Simmons told the HDR.
A former Maiden High School student told WSOC-TV that she would not be surprised if the cancellation was caused by a backlash to its inclusion of homosexuality.
"There are still people here who don't want to move forward with the times. It's not surprising if that's what is going on with that production," Savannah Harvell said.
The school did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.
In 2010, "Almost, Maine" was the most performed play in North American high schools, according to Playbill.