(NationalUSNews.com) — A Texas school board in Sherman, Texas, voted unanimously to reinstate a transgender student to a role in the school’s rendition of the famous musical Oklahoma. The policy prevented any student from playing a role if the character’s biological gender didn’t match their own. One student, Max Hightower, lost his role after the principal told his family about the policy and how, despite being transgender, Hightower couldn’t play the character.
The school board’s decision received heavy backlash from other students and online audiences due to the ongoing issue regarding transgender rights. Hightower wasn’t the only student removed from a role in the production, as girls playing male parts were also removed from the production. According to Hightower’s father, the controversial policy made it so that only boys could play male characters and girls could play female characters.
The school board in Sherman quickly reversed the policy and reinstated Hightower and other students to their original roles. The school board decided to reinstate the students after a meeting attended by dozens of Sherman citizens and students who supported Hightower. The speakers at the meeting also repeatedly criticized the school board for the policy, prompting the board’s president to address the controversy.
School board President Brad Morgan spoke about the incident after the vote to reinstate Hightower, apologizing to the community for the policy. Morgan also claimed that the school board is considering a new policy that wouldn’t consider gender when casting roles. The proposed policy would also institute a different version of the show for younger audiences, like elementary school kids.
The removal of Hightower received national attention, and although Hightower has been reinstated, his family isn’t satisfied with the school board’s reversal. According to Hightower’s mother, the new policy regarding age-appropriate renditions will target Hightower and other transgender students. Hightower’s family also claims that the school board is instituting a policy to choose a version of the play with Hightower in a limited role.
Hightower’s family also stated that the policy reversal might force the Sherman school district into the national spotlight. According to Hightower’s father, the school administrative staff are attempting to deflect blame to others to avoid facing national scrutiny.
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