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CLOQUET SCHOOL BOARD: Board now focusing attention on future school plays

Continuing its previous discussions about the fall musical, the Cloquet School Board has decided it will review a few samples of general board policies as a guideline for future high school plays.

The debate about how to regulate future high school plays came when some of the more PG-13 content of this fall's production, "Legally Blonde," raised some eyebrows.

The board discussed whether to have an informal procedure in place in which the principal will weigh in on the appropriateness of the play early in the process or to have a board policy drafted.

While some board members thought the informal process has worked fine in the past — which may or may not have existed, depending on whom you ask — others said they would prefer having a board policy in place as a guideline. While it could be feasible for the near future, what would happen once Principal Warren Peterson is gone and nobody knows about the informal process? A board policy would be in writing for anyone to reference.

Kevin Hamre directed the fall musicals at the high school for eight years and the spring play for five. Hamre told the Pine Journal that school administration never asked him what he was presenting.

Rather, Hamre would ponder the selection with his assistant director for months before announcing the final selection to the students in late spring so any motivated kids could familiarize themselves with the show over the summer before tryouts that fall.

However, Hamre said, it would take him about three months to edit and clean up a play. Only then would he send any scripts home with the students.

"So there was never a problem," Hamre said.

Hamre said he suggested the current director, Landon Hall, look into "Legally Blonde" as a possible choice. Hall assisted Hamre with last year's fall musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

Based on the popular movie, the musical "Legally Blonde," follows the transformation of sorority girl and fashion major Elle Woods as she follows her college sweetheart to Harvard Law School. Once there, she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, scandal and realizes her true potential.

"You can't be stuck into doing the same thing year after year," Hamre said of the suggestion.

Superintendent Ken Scarborough said he would find a few general policies and present them at a later meeting to help prevent the issue in the future.

In other school board news:

• Principal Peterson said fall sports have been busy and successful. He also is enjoying having police officer Erik Blesener as the school resource officer this year. "It's been great," Peterson said. Washington Elementary Principal Robbi Mondati agreed.

• Guest speaker Chris Herren will be at the school at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30. Herren was an NBA player who struggled with drug and alcohol issues and is now a motivational speaker.

• Community Education Director Ruth Reeves said the new starting blocks have been installed at the middle school pool.

• There will be a variety of after-school fall and Halloween dances and activities in the area Friday evening.

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