The Nondiscrimination Dance

Last month, eighth-grade students at Notre Dame Academy (a Catholic school in Toledo, Ohio) took a field trip to Chicago to see The Nutcracker. Just minutes before the curtains opened, however, the trip chaperones decided the class should leave. The chaperones had discovered that the onstage parents of Clara, the main character, would be portrayed as same-sex married.  

Consider the chaperones’ dilemma. No doubt the theater seats had been paid for, and students would be unhappy about missing the performance. Perhaps the characters’ same-sex marriage would have little impact on the audience. Nevertheless, the chaperones could see that the audience was being subjected to an agenda not normally included in The Nutcracker. The Catholic Church teaches clearly that same-sex marriage is gravely sinful, and the chaperones had a responsibility to the children they accompanied. A faithful adult might not be swayed by a fictional portrayal, but students might assume that since the same-sex relationship in a cherished Christmas performance was part of a Catholic school field trip, it was in line with Church teachings on sex and marriage.

The right thing to do, then, was avoid the potential scandal and discuss the issue in light of Catholic teaching back at school. Dean of Students Jessica Beaverson was one of the chaperones who made the call. According to multiple social media posts, Principal Sarah Cullum was consulted and supported the walkout. These administrators and chaperones should be regarded as heroes for making such a quick and wise decision on the spot—but they have been vilified instead.

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