Texas superintendent suspended after trans-identifying student removed from male role in school musical

A Texas school superintendent has been suspended for requiring actors in a school play to be cast according to their birth sex, a policy that was later overturned by the school board.

After a…

A Texas school superintendent has been suspended for requiring actors in a school play to be cast according to their birth sex, a policy that was later overturned by the school board.

After a trans-identifying female student was cast in the lead male role of a high school production of the musical Oklahoma!, the Sherman Independent School District shared a notice Nov. 6 that the musical would be postponed due to concerns about “mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content” in the script. The statement also noted that for “this particular production, the sex of the role as identified in the script will be used when casting.”

“This will be the way casting will be done moving forward – males will be cast as males; females will be cast as females,” explained a district document obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

The newspaper describes Sherman as “a conservative community about 60 miles north of Dallas.”

Several days after its first notice, the district shared a new statement explaining the musical would be conducted using a different, less risqué script that “showcases each student’s talents while also being age appropriate, with no concerns over content, stage production/props, and casting.”

But after a school board meeting in which gender activists protested the policy, the school board unanimously voted to reverse the decision, reinstating both the original casting and the original script that was previously criticized for being inappropriate for an all-ages audience. 

The board also voted to suspend the superintendent, while an outside investigator looks into the circumstances of the trans-identifying female’s removal from the male role. 

The student’s father spoke in favor of the school board’s decision and the suspension of the superintendent, calling the policy to cast students in roles scripted to match their sex “transphobia.” 

Dr. Tyson Bennett, the suspended superintendent, has served in the Sherman Independent School District for 17 years, with a total of over 30 years working in the field of education.  

Bennett has previously noted his support for events involving the local Christian community through the school district’s “Stand in the Gap” program, which invites area churches to partner with the district through mentorship opportunities, volunteering and prayer.  

“We met with our church pastors in the area, invited them over to have lunch with us. They’re also planning a community wide prayer event for our schools,” Bennett shared in a 2022 interview regarding prayer partnerships with local churches. 

“It truly is our community and church congregations saying, ‘Hey, we want to do this prayer event for you guys. And we just say, ‘Yes, great, thank you.’”