Teacher returns to Cactus Shadows H.S. after bestiality play controversy

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a questionable Broadway play was given to advanced drama students at Cactus Shadows High School, their teacher returned to class on Tuesday.

Andrew Cupo is not free and clear to do what he wants, however. The district has made it clear new policies will now ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again.

Cupo was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 7 after several parents complained the Tony Award-winning play that he wanted students to perform was far too sexually graphic.

"The Goat or Who is Sylvia" is about a man who falls in love with a goat. The play depicts bestiality and incest and contains sexually explicit language.

Scottsdale police looked into the matter and found no grounds for criminal wrongdoing.

While some parents were outraged over the play, other parents and students defended the drama teacher at a school board meeting last week.

Contributing to the controversy was the fact that there were no clear-cut rules for getting approval of what plays are taught in the class.

Cave Creek Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick released a statement that reads, in part: "The District does not in any way condone the use of the controversial play in its curriculum. The teacher did not obtain the permission of any parent or of the administration prior to introducing its mature concepts into the classroom and the item has been removed from use."

The superintendent said that from this point on, the principal will review all plays performed in class and publicly at the school.

The district came out and said any play deemed too sexually explicit or controversial in a high school setting will not be used for any reason.