After backlash from parents, a 6th-grade production of “The Sound of Music” in Fullerton will be altered to remove Nazi elements, the district superintendent announced.
The musical, which is being produced at Rolling Hills Elementary School, tells the classic story of the von Trapp family’s escape from the Nazis in Austria prior to World War II.
When parents found out that the production would include swastikas and other Nazi props, and involve children giving a “Hail Hitler” salute, Fullerton School District Superintendent Bob Pletka intervened.
“These social media posts of our children could leave them vulnerable to co-opting of these photographs by nefarious individuals or groups meant to mock or exploit our children for their own purposes,” Pletka said in a statement.
“When my wife called me, she said, ‘Our son was whispering ‘little Nazi boy, little Nazi boy.’ I’m like, what? Where’s that coming from?” one parent said at a district meeting. “My 8-year-old does not need to be hearing that. My 8-year-old does not need to be participating, or have that understanding at that age.”
While many people, including the school board president, support the superintendent’s decision, others believe it is ultimately harmful to children.
“What we have taught these children is that when hard conversations come to the surface, we just silenced it, and we shove it under the rug. And Fullerton. We are better than that,” another parent said at the board meeting.
The school board president says they are going to be looking at policies so they have a more uniform standard when situations like this come up again in the future.