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article imageOp-Ed: Wasilla High School allows 'Bohemian Rhapsody' after banning it

By KJ Mullins     May 16, 2011 in World
Wasilla - Alaska's Wasilla High School tried to ban “Bohemian Rhapsody” from this year's graduation program because it was written by a gay man, the late Freddie Mercury.
Wasilla High School is in the same town where Sarah Palin presided as mayor before hitting it big.
Local paper Frontiersman reports that on a May 6 the school's symphonic jazz choir heard the news that even though they had been working on “Bohemian Rhapsody” all year it would not be included in this year's graduation ceremony. Principal Dwight Probasco's excuse was that some parents had complained that because the song's writer Freddie Mercury was gay the song was no appropriate.
“The whole thing was just ridiculous,” senior Rachel Clark said the following Monday. “They’d played the song on the school intercom and we played it at prom. It’s a great song and the choir was really excited to be singing it. And the senior class felt like it defined them.”
One of the students, Casey Hight fought back by contacting a gay and lesbian support organization in Anchorage who directed her to call an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.
The song is now back on track for the ceremony with a cut to remove one section about killing a man.
The students are still trying to understand how a school district that says tolerance for all could allow for homophobia to rule when it comes to the graduation program.
“We were joking about singing Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind,’ instead,” Clark said. “I guess no matter what you do, someone’s feathers are going to get ruffled.”
Entertainment writer Kevin Collier wrote on that this situation should be used as a plot for the television hit Glee.
"This does, in fact, hinge on a pet theory of mine: Homophobia is ridiculous in a world where we've all heard Queen. I'm only slightly joking here. Mercury and Brian May and the gang's music—so overwhelmingly, indisputably awesome, and so overwhelmingly, indisputably gay—is flat-out incongruous with all but the most misanthropic bigotry. And isn't that kind of what Glee is all about?"
The AlaskaDispatch sent a letter to the Wasilla High School, Class of 2011 about the story.
"Like many Alaskans, at first we just kind of knee-jerked and wrote off the whole controversy as so much stereotypical Wasilla bigotry. But then we remembered that not everyone in Wasilla is suspicious of gay people or jealous of their stereotypical monopoly on musical performance and theater arts. There do seem to be quite a large number of vocal, anti-gay people people in your community, though."
For many that connect the town of Wasilla to Sarah Palin that stereotype of the town's people being intolerant could play out. What impresses me though is that the kids stood up and won. These children need to be commended for not allowing a few bad apples spill the cart. By using the media and a support group they were able to change a wrong and make it right within days. What a wonderful testament for their class to have in their memory of their high school days.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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