The Cave Creek, Ariz., Unified School District governing board heard 2 hours of public comment Tuesday on the Cactus Shadows High School advanced drama class reading of Edward Albee's "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" and the suspension last week of teacher Andrew Cupo, The Arizona Republic reported Thursday.
The play, which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is absurdist in nature and includes a character who falls in love with a goat. It includes several vulgar sexual terms.
Three parents and a student spoke against the play, while about three dozen parents and students spoke in favor of it, the newspaper said, adding many people complained parents opposed to the play escalated the matter to the level of a school board meeting before consulting with the teacher or principal.
Cupo cautioned students about the explicit content of the play, and offered several opportunities for students to opt out and read a different play. It was also mentioned the play was read aloud in a classroom setting, and not presented on a stage before an audience.
Jacob Emnett said he was one of several students called to the school office Monday prior to the meeting.
"We were asked what we thought of Mr. Cupo teaching bestiality. Ironic, that they spoke to us of bestiality without the consent of our parents, the same act they condemn Mr. Cupo for. Where a few words or an email would suffice, those who stand against him sought to tear him down," Emnett said.
School Superintendent Debbi Burdick said at the Tuesday meeting district policy requires that any teacher who is the subject of a complaint goes on paid administrative leave until the matter is investigated.
Cupo left the school Monday and did not attend the meeting Tuesday, the newspaper said.
Burdick said further actions could include closing the matter with Cupo's return, disciplinary action or dismissal.
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