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Exclusion of Trans Student and Other Cast Members from ‘Oklahoma! Musical at Sherman High School Sparks Controversy



Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Controversy Erupts in Sherman ISD Over High School Musical Casting Decision

In a recent turn of events, Sherman Independent School District (SISD) finds itself at the center of a heated controversy following a casting decision for the high school musical production of “Oklahoma!” The district’s choice to implement a new policy allowing only males to play male roles and only females to play female roles has sparked outrage and accusations of discrimination.

The controversy stems from the removal of Max Hightower, a transgender male, from the lead role in the school’s production. Hightower and his parents firmly believe that he was denied the role solely because of his gender identity. The decision has not only affected Hightower but has also impacted other students, leading concerned parents to mobilize and plan an appeal to the school board.

Sherman ISD defended their casting decision by stating that the production was under review due to its mature themes, profane language, and sexual content. However, Hightower disputes the district’s explanation and questions the appropriateness of such content in a classic musical like “Oklahoma!”

Community response to the controversy has been overwhelming. Many individuals are showing support for Hightower and criticizing the school district’s decision. In a striking display of solidarity, Austin College’s theater department has invited Max Hightower to a special event, underscoring their commitment to inclusivity and support for his artistic endeavors.

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Undeterred by the setback, Hightower’s parents have vowed to continue advocating for their son. They expressed their gratitude towards Max’s theater teacher for fostering inclusiveness and praised them for their unwavering support.

The Sherman ISD controversy continues to serve as a poignant reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by individuals from marginalized communities. As the issue gains attention and support, it remains to be seen how the school board will respond to the impending appeal and if any revisions will be made to the casting policy. All eyes are on the district as it navigates the desires for artistic expression, inclusivity, and the concerns of its community members.

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