Story Archive

Jack-Booted Thugs

Brian Eckert, 17, and a student at Ocean County Vocational Technical School District Performing Arts Academy in Lakehurst, N.J., was banned from performing in Academy plays for a year, and was told he may not be allowed to give the valedictorian speech after saying the “f-word” in a play. The aspiring actor is in the National Honor Society and has already been accepted to four colleges, including Columbia University, and says he was merely “in the moment” — as he was taught by Academy teachers. “We have a strict code of conduct,” says Schools Superintendent William Hoey. “We acted appropriately, and I’ll leave it at that.” The year-long ban was reduced to a two-day suspension, plus being banned from one solo performance, and Eckert was ordered to write letters of apology to the Board. And why would Eckert deliver that particular word at that particular time in the play? It was in the script: Cabaret is about a seedy entertainment hall, prostitutes, and others dealing with the rise of Nazism in Germany. (RC/Asbury Park Press) ...Surely Herr Hoey knew that.
Story Update: Eckert became an accomplished director and show designer, working on dozens of shows by the time he was 27, when this update was written.
Original Publication Date: 17 March 2013
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 19.

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