Friday 10 July 2020

Primary school scraps musical gay story line to include Jehovah’s Witness girl

A primary school in Hengelo has scrapped a gay story line from an end-of-school musical to make sure a child who is a Jehovah’s Witness could participate, local paper Tubantia reports.

The story originally featured a straight couple but during rehearsals the children, who are aged 11 and 12, decided it would be more fun if the protagonists were gay, the paper said.

This presented Ben de Vlugt, head of the non-faith based Montessori Anniksschool with a problem, the paper says, because he wanted every pupil to participate. He realised, the paper continues, that a gay story line would prompt the Jehovah witness parents of one girl in the class to refuse to allow her to join in.

‘I know how Jehovah’s Witnesses feel about this. You can be gay but not practice being gay. The chances were that she wouldn’t be able to participate [in the musical] and I think every single child should participate in what is the final event at their school,’ De Vlugt told the paper. He did not consult the girl’s parents before making his decision.

De Vlugt said many parents did not agree with his decision but understood his quandary. He emphasised his decision was not one against gays and for Jehovah’s Witnesses. ‘I respect everyone and this was not an easy decision. I felt like King Salomon presented with an impossible choice,’ he told the paper.

The incident has now prompted Labour member Kirsten van den Hul to submit a number of parliamentary questions to education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven.

Van Hul maintains that the school has not supported the idea of diversity and is not preparing its pupils to deal with society at large.  Answers to her queries are expected in three weeks’ time.

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