x

FOOD & TRAVEL

Queens Students Use Ancient Greek Play to Criticize Outgoing Schools Chancellor

Queens school officials banned a student play this month out of fear that it was too critical of outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg.

The Jamaica High School and Queens Collegiate students wrote the play after reading the Greek tragedy Antigone in a course called The Actors Studio, taught at Queensborough Community College.

The play paints a picture of unequal treatment at the two schools, which share one building. Collegiate is a new and growing school, while the Education Department is trying to close Jamaica for poor performance.

Instructor Brian Pickett received an email the day before the performance that principals at both schools had decided to ban it.

They both had issues with the script and are concerned about implications and negative references to the [Education Department] as well as the chancellor and mayor, the email stated.

The students wrote their play after reading Antigone, in which King Creon decrees that one of Antigones brothers will receive a proper burial, while the other is left out for the birds to feed on.

They also read The Island, a play about two political prisoners who stage Antigone to protest apartheid in South Africa.

The students dubbed their production Declassified, Struggle for Existence: We Used to Eat Lunch Together. Klein takes the place of King Creon, and Antigone and her sister are students at the two schools.

We were shocked, said Bibi McKenzie, 15, a junior at Jamaica, who was in the class. They didnt give us a chance. They said it would cause problems, but students from both schools wrote the script.

Pickett said that after the class read Antigone, he urged students to relate it to current issues. The planned school closing came up repeatedly, as did the difference in resources given to each school.

Students also discussed Collegiates reputation as the privileged school and Jamaica as the failing school, and how that affected the way students viewed one another.

There were no big arguments in class, said Pickett. We created an alternative to that competitive or contentious environment that existed in the relationship between the two schools.

Neither principal could be reached during the holiday week, and the Education Department declined to comment.

In a letter to Klein and Bloomberg last week, Student Press Law Center director Frank LoMonte wrote, It is difficult to think of a more educationally and civically unsound action that a principal could take than to order students to refrain from speaking out on a matter of public concern regarding the quality of education they are receiving.

I felt it was discriminatory, said Jamaica senior Afsan Quayyum, 18. I had a lot of hope about this play. I wanted everyone to know what we face in the school every day. It was our story.

RELATED

The rollout of new 5G wireless service in the US failed to have the much-dreaded result of crippling air travel, although it began in rocky fashion, with international airlines canceling some flights to the U.

Top Stories

Church

BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.

Church

NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.

Events

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.

Video

1 NYPD Officer Killed, 1 Severely Injured in Harlem Shooting (Vid)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer was killed and another critically wounded Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son, officials said, making four officers shot in the city in as many days.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.