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Bedeviled by a few, she's leaving

ARTS NOTES

March 19, 2006|Chris Pasles

TRESA WAGGONER, the Bennett, Colo., elementary school teacher who got into hot water in January for showing her students a video clip of Gounod's "Faust," is reportedly out looking for a new job and a new community.

Additionally, Bennett Mayor Karen Grossaint resigned last month over the matter, telling the Rocky Mountain News that Waggoner's removal from the classroom was the "last straw." She said the 2,500-member community east of Denver "has a mean-spirited undertone."

Waggoner had wanted to teach her students about opera by playing 12 minutes from a 33-year-old series called "Who's Afraid of Opera?" But some parents complained that their kids were traumatized after seeing famed soprano Joan Sutherland and singing sock puppets recount the story of Faust selling his soul to the Devil.

They accused Waggoner, a mother of two, of being a devil worshiper and a lesbian out to promote homosexuality (she said she was trying to explain "trouser roles" in opera).

As a result, school district supervisor George Sauter placed her on administrative leave pending an investigation and a Feb. 16 school board meeting. As reported on the Playbill Arts website, more than 50 people at the meeting supported her reinstatement (while six opposed it), but Waggoner's status was not resolved and she remains on leave. Now apparently she's looking for greener pastures.

Waggoner, Grossaint and Sauter could not be reached for comment.

-- Chris Pasles

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