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High schoolers raise $84,000 to put on 'gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing' play that was canceled by school following parents' pushback

Carroll High School students prepare to perform "Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood" at Foellinger Theatre on Saturday May 20, 2023 in Fort Wayne, IN. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A group of two dozen Indiana high school students raised nearly $84,000 to put on a play featuring gay and non-binary characters after the school canceled the performance due to concerns voiced by parents.

Officials at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, announced in February that students could no longer put on a play called "Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood" after parents raised concerns about students' safety over the LGBT storyline.

In particular, parents took issue with one scene where a female character professes love for another female and a second scene where a character claims they are non-binary.

"I think that I'm not a man or a woman," the character reportedly states.

During a February 27 school board meeting, Kaye Niman, a mother and the wife of a pastor, stated that she believed the play was "immoral."

"What we believe in is what the Bible says, and the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin," Niman added. "It's forgivable, don't get me wrong, it's forgivable and we love them, but nevertheless … I applaud whoever made the decision to not have this play go on."

Northwest Allen County Superintendent Wayne Barker explained that the decision to cancel the performance was made by the high school and not the school board.

"It really came down to what we felt, our high school administration felt, was in the best interest of our students," Barker said. "And, after talking with them and hearing their explanation of it, I support that decision."

Lizette Downey, a district spokesperson, told the Washington Post that the decision to cancel the play was not only because of parents' concerns but also "disruptions already occurring between students directly involved within the theater department." However, Downey did not elaborate on what those "disruptions" were.

The students' summary of the play described the tale as a "gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing, hilarious new take on the story of Robin Hood," WBOI reported.

Following news of the cancellation, students started a petition to rally support for the play. As a result, the students raised nearly $84,000. They booked a new venue, the Foellinger Theatre, and put on their performance earlier this month.

The Northwest Allen County Schools did not respond to a request for a comment, Fox News Digital reported.

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