The Utah Eagle Forum, which supports conservative principles, is calling on Bingham High School to apologize to its students and explain the biased message sent by the play “Dead Man Walking” which was performed at Bingham in March.
The play is based on a book written by Sister Helen Prejean, a true story describing her experience working with a murderer on death row. That man, Matt Poncelet, was convicted with an accomplice of killing a young girl and boy by making them kneel down and then shooting them in the back of the head after raping the girl and stabbing her 17 times.
Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka Thursday told Cache Valley Daily that parents of Bingham High students requesting the Eagle Forum become involved contacted her organization.
“Hopefully, as this is made public, the school board will talk to those in charge at Bingham High School and the decision will be to make a public apology to the students and to their parents for the kind of exposure the children have had to this.
“It’s an interesting situation when we have a Utah Attorney General who has asked the movie industry to please take smoking out of movies that are targeting the youth and yet right here in Utah on the stage at Bingham High School they were using fake cigarettes that looked real to the audience.
“That, to me, is appalling. They took the Lord’s name in vain; they used some vulgar four-letter words and other inappropriate language throughout the play. They had some graphic sexual talk going on. They also described the condition of the girl who was raped and murdered by this convicted death row inmate.”
Ruzicka said it was troubling at the end of the play at the execution of the murderer when he was strapped onto to a gurney which is raised and his arms are stretched out as if he were on the cross, making a comparison to the crucifixion of Christ.
“It is such an inappropriate play for these young people. It was also a project for the school. Bingham’s English Department made ‘Dead Man Walking’ required reading of the students and the History Department did a unit on capital punishment. This was all required by the ‘Dead Man Walking’ national high school project before the play could be staged there.”
Ruzicka said she talked to students who told her they were upset to see their friends on stage using language they would never use otherwise.
“School is ending for the year and these parents continue to request the apology. There has been no action, at least that students and parents know about. Otherwise, it is seen that the school is condoning these actions and the parents don’t want that.”