The Wellesley Public Schools have made public the e-mails that led administrators to scrap one politically themed elementary school talent show skit and change another last month.
Responding to a Townsman public records request, the district released a series of e-mails from a single parent who responded negatively to a skit put on by Fiske fifth-graders, which featured three boys dancing, wearing oversized Donald Trump masks.
The skit, along with another depicting Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio, were performed in the early performance of the talent show. The one featuring Trump and Rubio was modified to depict talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, while the one with the Trump masks was scrapped altogether.
Superintendent David Lussier said in the days after that the skits were deemed inappropriate following the parent’s complaint even as other parents objected to what they believed was wrongful censorship.
In the e-mails, which included a caricature of President Obama and another with a Muslim man holding a severed head, the parent objected to the content of the skits and promised to send their children to school dressed as the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Depictions of Muhammad are strictly forbidden under Muslim law and have in the past prompted violent attacks like the 2015 assault on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“Please grow up and realize that there are many different views and that a talent show ridiculing someone is first not a talent and would have never been tolerated if it was of Obama,” the parent said in her initial e-mail. “May be next year my kids will dance a hijab on [sic]!”
Fiske Principal Rachel McGregor, in a subsequent e-mail to Lussier, said numerous teachers were feeling unsafe as a result of the e-mails.
Lussier had by then advised McGregor to respond to the parent acknowledging the skits were inappropriate and they would not happen during the evening performance of the April 13 talent show.
“My husband is voting for Trump,” the parent, whose name was redacted, told McGregor and teacher Lizzy Floyd in her initial complaint. “You should be so lucky to be married to someone as wonderfully Republican as him.”
The woman went on to say that she hopes Trump is elected and, “all the teachers like yourselves get fired because you really shouldn’t be teaching because you can’t do so without injecting your political beliefs.”
Repeated offers by McGregor to speak with the parent by phone went unanswered, according to the e-mails released by the school district.