Rantz: School cancels 4th grade play over ‘cultural appropriation’ complaints with little notice

Apr 27, 2022, 6:14 PM | Updated: May 1, 2022, 6:42 pm

An elementary school in Tacoma canceled a 4th grade performance of Lewis and Clark with just over a week’s notice because of two complaints.

Lowell Elementary principal Renee Rossman informed parents on Tuesday, April 26th, that she was pulling the plug on the play. She said it depicted stereotypes and engaged in cultural appropriation.

The decision caught parents and children by surprise. The performance was set for May 5th.

Rantz: Bethel School District teachers, staff are using students to pass school levy

‘Cultural appropriation’

After receiving two complaints from parents, Rossman made the surprise announcement claiming the play is inappropriate.

“It is essential that our school promote respect for all cultures and people. We must not perpetuate stereotypes or engage in cultural appropriation. After thoughtful consideration along with Racial Justice training at Lowell for all staff, I have decided to cancel the 4th grade performance of Lewis and Clark,” Rossman wrote in a letter obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Lewis and Clark follow Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they “discover the Great Unknown West.” It reportedly involves a “hostile encounter” with the Teton Sioux and depicts Sacagawea as she helped the two explore the land.

“I know students have been preparing and may feel disappointed, but we ask for your support as we take this time to reflect, learn and revise our practices,” Rossman wrote.

Due to the short time frame between the letter and the play’s scheduled performance, the principal said she would not schedule another play this school year.

Rantz: District awards middle schoolers $2,000 for student drag show

No detailed explanation

Beyond the letter, there was no detailed explanation as to what was offensive about a play written for children. Rossman also does not explain the concern about cultural appropriation, though one parent suspects it’s because the students who depict Native Americans are white.

A school spokesperson says the decision was made in consultation with district officials.

“After receiving complaints from parents about the play, the school and district reviewed the script. The script contains cultural stereotypes that misrepresent the customs and traditions of Native Americans. We initially sought to revise the script but determined given the timeline it was not possible,” the spokesperson explained via email to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The spokesperson says they didn’t take the decision likely but “as a district, we value cultural understanding and strive to create inclusive school environments, and ultimately the play didn’t align with our values.”

This is absurd

On the face, cultural appropriation claims are absurd — more so if it’s due to non-Native Americans cast in the role of the Teton Sioux and Sacagawea. These were fourth-graders playing adults, so we needn’t pretend the school takes accurate casting seriously.

And, despite their complaints, the two parents were almost certainly not offended. They likely pretended to be offended as a way to signal their virtue.

More concerning is that the school approved the script, to begin with. If the script gets in front of kids, it should mean the school reviewed the material and thought it was age-appropriate and aligned with the district’s values. That Rossman suddenly had a moment of clarity after attending left-wing equity training meant to prey on white guilt is not a reason to pull the rug from under the feet of kids who worked hard on the production.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  InstagramFacebook, and YouTube. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Bellingham Sex Shop...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School Board director hosts ‘Queer Youth Open Mic’ at sex shop

Unless Jenn Mason clears out the store, those children will be near sex toys, graphic books, and lingerie, with a curtained doorway keeping them away.
1 day ago
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped a King County Superior Court Judge in the face, but the judge didn't want to be identified as a victim.
2 days ago
(Seattle Police Department)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Victim died as medics waited for critically understaffed Seattle Police to arrive to scene

Due to critically low staffing, Seattle Police were unable to quickly respond to a deadly hit and run as medics waited to be cleared to treat the victim.
3 days ago
Police officers block a street as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) ar...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Did Seattle councilmembers abuse police help, while defunding department?

I didn't come up empty-handed because I have no idea whether or not it's true. In this case, I was stopped from doing a part of my job.
7 days ago
Slides from Kirkland Middle School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Presentation  from April 28...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School used unsubstantiated hate speech claim to push kids into equity training

KiMS principal alleged there was an "an increase in use of racial and identity slurs." The incidents were "pervasive rather than an isolated incident."
8 days ago
A volunteer collects heroin syringes from a homeless encampment on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washi...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressives push drug legalization lie, amidst fatal OD surge and past failures

Instead of combatting the drug crisis, left-wing activists hope to legalize drug possession under the guise of treatment by lying about their plans.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Rantz: School cancels 4th grade play over ‘cultural appropriation’ complaints with little notice