'Angels in America' reading assignment causing uproar from parents in Temecula
TEMECULA, Calif. - There is no question that Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is a highly acclaimed play exploring many difficult issues about homosexuality and AIDS in the 1980s.
The question, for some parents at Temecula Valley High School, is whether it’s appropriate content for a 15-year-old.
"It’s more than sexually explicit, it’s sexual violence" said Tracy Nolasco, a parent.
Nolasco pulled her daughter from the class where she was reading it as part of an assignment.
Other plays on the reading list included notable works like August Wilson’s Fences, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Mary Chases’ Harvey.
By the time it was Nolasco’s daughters’ group to pick, the choice was between Angels in America and Sam Sherpard’s Buried Child.
"They saw the word angels," said the mother. "And thought it was nicer than a buried child."
According to her daughter, the instructor never explained what the play was about, let alone the sexual content.
"Even if he had, this is not appropriate for students" said Pastor Tim Thompson, from Murrietta.
He has been involved in helping elect at least five conservative Christians to Riverside County school boards. This is the latest in a series of school content issues he has been very vocal about.
"It’s sexual violence. It’s hyper sexualization of our children," he adds.
Thompson is asking the teacher, or whoever is responsible for including the content, be fired.
Temecula Valley School District officials sent FOX 11 the following statement, in part:
"Currently investigating this situation. We take these types of concerns very seriously and will take any appropriate measures at the conclusion of the investigation."
Parents are telling us the popular drama instructor is on administrative leave, which has angered many students who are organizing protests. According to Nolasco, she feels her daughter is now getting targeted since the controversy.
This is just the latest incident brought up by conservatives about schools in the area.
In April, Thompson led a protest against La Sierra High in Riverside when the school scheduled (and eventually cancelled) a drag queen performance as part of Pride Week celebrations.