Skit at Lane Technical High School

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Date: 1994

Region: North America

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Theater


Artist: Members of the French Club at Lane Technical High School Chicago

Confronting Bodies: Principal David Schlichting and Assistant Principal Keith Foley

Dates of Action: March, 1994

Location: Chicago, IL

Description of Artwork: A skit planned by members of the Lane Technical High School for International Day, which may have included "a quick kiss between two women."

The Incident: When school administrators found out about the planned "inappropriate behavior," they called several French Club members into the office, threatening them with 10 days' suspension and no prom privileges if they went through with the plan. Foley, an assistant principal, said the administrators did know before they called the students in that a same-sex kiss was an issue. The School has a policy for International Days that "there is no kissing or any kind of suggestive or sexual things on stage, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual," according to Foley. But Lindsey Chan, a Lane Tech senior and French Club member, told the Lerner "Booster" that was not the case. Principal Schlichting had OK'd kissing between members of the opposite sex, she said, but forbade any "homosexual acts" during the performance. A statement issued by the administration stated, "This event, by its nature, does not lend itself to the depiction of a cultural group in any manner which could be interpreted as a negative stereotype. The school retains the right to modify a skit which may be even remotely construed as unkind or in poor taste by any ethnic group." Foley would not say if a kiss between two women had been deemed a "negative stereotype," and added that the censoring of the kiss "has nothing to do with any administrator's feelings about homosexuality." The Lane Tech administration does not want International Days celebration to "become a situation where people are making statements," Foley said. "We've just never allowed it," he said. "I'm not sure why it's becoming an issue this year."

Results of Incident: Rumors of the pending lesbian kiss -which was ultimately scrapped from last Friday's skit- had the student body abuzz with debate; the administration's actions had senior Joe Zefran, a self-described "straight-but-not-narrow" kind of guy, up in arms.

Source: Windy City Times, Vol. 9, No. 29, March 31, 1994