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Two sides of U.S. at center stage

June 28, 2007

Re "Acting on their beliefs," Column One, June 22

This article illustrates the divide in this country between true Americans and those who wave the flag but only stand for intolerance and restrictions on free speech and expression.

The kids "acting" to show what our brave soldiers are experiencing in Afghanistan and Iraq made me proud to be an American. The bad "acting" by the school principal and those who want to prevent others from voicing their opinions do not represent what our nation was founded for and is about.

CURTIS FEESE

Covina

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This article reminds me of a similar experience I had in 1972 during the Vietnam War. I was the drama teacher at Chatsworth High School, and after some urging from my students -- and some prodding from my own conscience -- I agreed to do an antiwar musical called "Viet Rock." The principal had no problem with the play, but local church members did. They alerted the media, and on opening night, TV, radio and newspaper people as well as the L.A. school board president showed up.

After seeing the production, the board president accused me and the cast of spewing hatred and threatened to have me fired. Fortunately, he backed off after throngs of parents and students besieged him and ultimately convinced him that the play was a meaningful, educational experience for everyone concerned.

I sympathize with the director and cast in Connecticut, but look at the results of their principal's decision: Not only did they get to perform their play off-Broadway, they got national attention and publicity for a worthy cause. Would that my principal had done the same for me.

ROBERT CARRELLI

Thousand Oaks

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