Tolerance Takes a Beating

Washington Post Loudoun Extra
March 13, 2005
By Sarah Fulton

The recent controversy surrounding Stone Bridge High School’s production of a student one-act play about homosexuality is downright frightening. While the playwright addressed students bullying each other, she did not foresee the bullying by the conservative community afraid of her views.

If students don’t feel like they have a safe voice with which to express themselves and explore their own attitudes and opinions, how can we guarantee that we are sending intelligent, reasoned people out into our democracy? Like it or not, kids are exploring their sexual selves in high school, and without an honest discourse about the bullying and violence surrounding these issues, how can students hope to make any sense of it?

The virulence of the outcry against one student’s expression of herself is an indication that our society is becoming less tolerant of individual freedom.

I graduated from Loudoun County High School in 1995. In my senior year, I wrote, directed and produced a one-act play with much the same message as this Stone Bridge student’s play. It dealt with a high school girl uncertain of her sexuality and coming to terms with the realization that she might be a lesbian, and with those ramifications in a threatening society.

In 1995, when it was written and debuted at Loudoun County High School, not one parent, not one School Board member, not one student and not one member of the community had anything negative to say. There was no uproar. There was no controversy, because there was no reason for one.

Is this what we want to become, an intolerant, censorial society that refuses to allow individuals the right to express themselves and grow?

Sarah Fulton
Boyce, Va.

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