Toledo, Ohio, Catholic school students were unceremoniously removed from a performance of The Nutcracker when chaperones realized that Clara’s parents would be portrayed as gay dads. Despite an apology from the administration, students still protested by painting the “spirit rock” in rainbow colors and emblazoning it with “God Loves U” on Tuesday, according to TV station WTOL.
Students from Toledo’s Notre Dame Academy were on a field trip to Chicago for House Theatre’s inclusive production of the holiday classic in which the young girl Clara’s parents are played by men. Chaperones ushered the seated group out of the theater moments before the production began when they put the gay casting together, although there had been reviews that mentioned the show’s inclusivity.
A Notre Dame Academy alumna, Carly McGoldrick, brought attention to the incident with a series of tweets in which she called the school out for “embarrassing” the students and for failing to refund them the money they paid for the show they weren’t allowed to see.
“I was contacted by a current student who was just sort of concerned, confused, asking for advice. And I felt that I had a platform I could make an attempt to help in any way I could. And it actually sort of sparked something big, which is amazing,” McGoldrick said, according to WTOL.
Notre Dame Academy released a statement Monday night apologizing for the students’ removal from the performance.
The morning after the administration released its statement, students protested by painting the “spirit rock” and planting rainbow flags around it.
McGoldrick, who graduated in 2018, accused her alma mater of putting up a facade of “performative allyship” and demanded the administration “do better” following its tepid response to the incident at the House Theatre.