Help me protest High School policy, what is the legaily of this?

I graduated a few years ago at a school where my friends and i were very active in the theatre department. In addition we did several community theatre shows throughout the year, which was a great hobby and a great way for some of my friends to get more theatrical experience (especially those intending to go into it as a career).

Now that school has started back up there is a new teacher in the department (replacing our much beloved old one), and apparently this new teacher has created a new rule…students in the theatre productions class (the class that does 3 annual shows) are no longer allowed to participate in any community theatre. Outraged isn’t even a word to describe how i feel

My question is what is the legality of a teacher of a class to restrict what healthy hobbies students have OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL. Especially since many of these kids would like as much experience as possible before going to college for theatre. I figure first i send as many emails as it takes to the school board to get a response, then make appearances in person if need be. I don’t see HOW this is in the power of the teachers to do, and i would love to see them have tried to stop my group from doing shows outside of school (they made for some of my most fond memories). Give me the info i need to help me protest this idiotic rule!

Has this drama teacher made any explanation of the reason for this rule? Like “We don’t want students’ community theater time conflicting with school theater time”?

Or is this one of the oh-too-typical internecine arts community personality clashes where the new drama teacher has a major feud going with the director of your community theater?

I am clueless as to the “official” reason, but i can tell you that the REAl reason is for one of those feuds. I suspect they may use the conflict of time excuse…which is ridiculous. The shows that my friends and i did certainly did NOT conflict as practices and performances were in late evenings after any school practices had let out…and if they have the power to say what hobbies “conflict” with school activities what is stopping them from saying all their students have to quit their dance classes? going to church? reading books? Do teachers really have this power?

I opened this thread thinking that it would be the usual “I can’t wear my South Park t-shirt to school” type thing. Then I read it and that does sound pretty bad. I have no idea where she thinks that she has that kind of power. Is your principle a fair person? I think that you should request a private meeting and explain your case (that sounds stupid, the teacher should be the one defending her rule). If that doesn’t work, then you will have to go higher up. Texas has a seperate school board for every school right? I am not sure how you can request a hearing with them but any sane body of people should know to put a stop to that.

Well, I couldn’t tell you what you can do about it. I’m clueless. But I figured it was an ego thing…the only person that’s more of prima donna than the lead in any play is the theater director…

I doubt you’ll get very far on the legal front. This drama teacher is not, in actuality, stopping anyone from doing community theatre. Anyone can choose to perform, but he or she then loses the option of taking the teacher’s elective class. Courts have upheld random drug testing for high school athletes because they choose to participate and the cost of that participation is giving up some rights.

I’m not saying the drama teacher is right - heck, I’m not even saying the Supreme Court is right - but coming at this from a legal perspective will get you nowhere.

I don’t know about Texas, but around here, a parent can request a meeting with a child’s teacher and/or principal at any time for any reason.

Get the parents involved. Get them to make the teacher explain why she feels she has the right to dictate what students do in their free time. I know if my kid was in this situation, I’d damn sure want an explanation. She might even have a very sensible and plausible reason for this seemingly arbitrary rule; can’t think what it might be, but if she has one the parents and the students have a right to know what it is.

Yes, they do. Kids have no fucking rights in school, as far as I can tell. And if this is part of an ongoing feud, then trying to buck the rule will probably result in no change, or some sort of pyhrric victory. I can easily conceive of a scenario in which, to avoid any political battles or lawsuits, administrators decide to remove the course from the curriculum entirely.

If you do decide you want to get involved, realize that since you’re no longer attending school, you won’t have any real standing, so don’t try going to the principal yourself. You’ll need to find a parent willing to take up the cause, preferably multiple parents. Alternatively, if you know someone inside the system with the power to rattle some cages and the willingness to do something about this issue, you might be able to make some headway. But don’t get your hopes up.

My two cents, anyways.

Eons ago, when I played on my high school’s freshman tennis team, the coach gave us a talk about Univerisity Interscholastic League rules and how we weren’t supposed to play for outside teams or accept money for playing. Could this be something similiar?

Man, what a shitty teacher. I can’t imagine a theater teacher discouraging any student from pursuing more theater. That’s fuckin’ nuts.

Just an update, aprently i wasn’t the only person who thought it was a crappy rule. A student supposedly made an issue out of (possibly with parents involved) and i hear that the rule is now either changed or it probably will be soon…good riddance.

I understand that students basically have no rights in school, but i just cannot swallow that a teachers power goes out into the students private life outside of school, that flows over into parental authority. So i will just hang back and make sure the rule is in fact history, and if not i’ll bring the fight to the theatre department ( and i will take the suggestion of getting some parents involved).

Doubtful; I know when I was in high school, plenty of teens who were in the school plays were also trying out for the community theater group.

My CEGEP had a professional theatre program and the same rule was in place, I believe. I think it may be one of those “I’m training him and no one has the right to mess with my training” type things.

Ok, nitpick here – why the hell can’t people write complaint letters anymore? I am firmly convinced that emails are of nearly zero influence in such a situation, and the small value they do have is made even smaller when one person sends many emails. What is so wrong with using the time-honored way to express a serious interest in something: a honest-to-god letter followed by a phone call?

Anyway, seems like a fair enough cause to take up. But in my line of work, in which my colleagues and I deal with volumes of correspondence, we’ve adopted the informal approach, only take so much time answering a complaint as the person took to make the complaint. Seems like a fair rule to me, at least.

Carry on.

Point taken. I can understand however how someone would think of emails in today’s age before snail mail. For one email is instant as opposed to the amount of time a mailed letter would take to arrive, secondly email is generally well maintained by school and such in this electronic age…not to say that letters arn’t, but with a few extra clicks you can forward the complaint to say the principal, vice principal, super-intendant, and other members of the school board all at once thus giving your complaint a better likelihood of getting a response.

Nothing wrong with a good old fashion letter though because as you say, people will think you put more time into and may think you mean buisness.

It could be. The University Interscholastic League oversees virtually all extracurricular activity in Texas public schools (they may still leave the agricultural stuff to the FFA and others.) Instead of nitpicking between team sports and other activities, the UIL may have made some of their policies apply to all activities. I may be wrong, but it might be that you can’t do both school and community theater because they didn’t want high school kids playing semipro football and didn’t want to single out the jocks.

If you can’t rehearse in the summer before 6AM or after 8PM, it’s might be for the same reason.


Looking through the UIL website, it looks like the only thing that they do in high school drama is help with one act play competitions. I don’t see how they would have any jurisdiction over school productions.

A quick suggestion…(from someone who did a lot of theatre back in the day, and at one point was doing it professionally)…

The best solution, IMHO, is to bring the two feuding parties together and have them work it out with you (perhaps) as a go-between. In other words, call them both (as a concerned alum) and set up a meeting. Then sit down and explain that a cooperation between the school and the community can serve both of their interests. And not just in sharing actors/designers/production staff/etc. but perhaps in other creative ways as well.

Hell, you might just find yourself with a new job (albeit probably a voluntary one). At the least, you’ll establish yourself as someone who wants to find a solution to the problem where all parties come out ahead.

ps. this is how producers get started – through yourself into the mix at the top, and get to work solving problems…

It sounds like the problem may very well be solved already, but in case it isn’t, here are my thoughts on the issue:

Since you are no longer there, you are not an injured party. To get the maximum effect out of this, the complaint needs to be based around one or more students whose rights to a life outside of school are being infringed upon.

The students or parents should first go to the principal of the school. If the principal has a brain, he/she will recognize a can of worms when he/she sees one, and tell the drama teacher to go soak his/her head.

If the principal does not solve the problem, approach the school board. See if your school system has a website. If so, look on there to find the approach to petitioning the school board. If not, call and ask how you can get on the agenda of the next school board meeting to make a request. Find the rules, and follow them to a T, and get on the agenda at the next school board meeting. The media will be your friend on this; the more people who have a chance to see how idiotic this Draconian policy is, the better your chance of getting it overturned.

I have doubts about the future of the drama department at your old school. I don’t know if I could stand being directed by someone who thinks he’s God.

Heh. I’m not exactly a veteran treader of the boards, but I’ve done amateur/school productions and been friends with people who were seriously into community theater, and it seems like you’d have a tough time finding a director/artistic director who didn’t think s/he was God…