Open letter to the media:
Though you may not consider it as ratings worthy as the student walk-outs in JeffCo, you may want to keep an eye on a situation happening at Eaglecrest High School in Aurora (Cherry Creek School District). Watch #TeamNeil on Twitter.
Students, parents, alumni, and peers are assembling in the school theater at 3:00 p.m. today to discuss the events that led up to their highly respected teacher/director’s (Neil Truglio) absence from the closing show Saturday night.
The school principal, Gwen Hansen-Vigil, told them that it was Neil’s choice not to be there. While there’s a chance that Truglio would make a statement in this way, no one who knows how much his students mean to him can believe he would miss closing night.
I emailed the principal this morning for facts and have not yet received a reply. I spoke with Danielle Daugherty, Dean of Students, on the phone this morning as well, and she told me she did not have any information on the situation.
Neil Truglio is known for pushing boundaries to produce great shows at Eaglecrest. Their production of Frankenstein was chosen to be performed at the state Thespian Conference last year. The school district always inspects the sets and had approved the use of hydraulics in their recent play, Alice in Wonderland, provided that no one was on the equipment or set piece while in motion. The day the play was to open, the district told Truglio that he could not use the hydraulics at all.
Students fear that Neil has been suspended and feel that would be unjust. In support of their teacher, they are exercising their right to peaceful assembly to discuss the issue, many wearing clothing expressing their support of their beloved teacher. They fear that the school administration wants Truglio gone because his innovative mind is too much for them to deal with (aka: he doesn’t subscribe to cookie cutter ways).
Neil Truglio, an actor himself, is a stellar acting and theater teacher. The safety and well-being of his students is paramount to him. He has been an inspiration to many and has pushed Eaglecrest’s theater department to a level of excellence. His departure, should it come to that, would be devastating to his students.
Giving this story media attention would highlight the compassionate hearts of the students exercising their First Amendment rights.
Please read through all of the interesting comments below. I took the time to reply to each one. I’ve also added new comment with my own thoughts since a year has now passed.