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It’s been four months since the “Drama Therapy” performance at Havre de Grace High School raised controversy and concern, and some parents are still dissatisfied with the school system’s response.

And, at least one school board member is acknowledging “mistakes were made” in how the program was presented.

Six parents, some who have been involved with the issue since December, attended Monday’s Harford County Board of Education meeting to once again complain about how school officials are addressing their concerns about “Drama Therapy.”

“I am here tonight as a mom — a very frustrated mom who is finding it difficult to find simple answers,” Rachel Tate, who has been before the board several times about the “Drama Therapy” production, said.

The “Drama Therapy” program was performed in December for the student body at-large and the general public, and became the center of controversy after parents complained about the content in the skits, which combine heavy drama and comedy to address issues teens face.

Tate rehashed Monday that she does not have a problem with the student participation in the production, and has not, at any time, asked for any school employees to be fired as one Harford state delegate has requested.

Earlier this year, Havre de Grace parents were able to view what the school system referred to as an unedited taped performance of the “Drama Therapy” production. The tape was from the center camera at the school assembly on Dec. 4, according to Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications.

But, Tate insists the tape provided was not the unedited version.

“HCPS has yet to provide the raw uncut footage,” Tate said.

Tate said she was told there would be missing footage from the taped performance because the camera failed to start; yet the camera was able to capture the opening remarks and first skit.

The same taped version of the performance has been given to Harford’s legislators to view, after it was requested by one of the delegates. Not all of the delegates and senators, however, have viewed the tape. Western Harford Del. J.B. Jennings, who is chairman of Harford’s House delegation, said Monday afternoon he is still waiting to see the tape.

Kimie Ranken, who has also been seeking answers since December, said she also wants parents to be able to view the full-unedited performance.

Ranken also wants future “Drama Therapy” productions to remain as extracurricular events outside of the academic school day.

Ranken said a group of eight parents met with Board of Education President Mark Wolkow and board member Don Osman on Feb. 25.

Ranken said she was shocked by Wolkow’s comment to the parents that there was a “cat and mouse game” taking place.

“There is no time to play games,” Ranken said.

Dawn Hebding also addressed Wolkow’s comment.

“Many parents have been trying since December to have this rectified,” she said. “This is not a game as a board member has referenced. I am troubled by the ignorance that has been shown regarding our children’s welfare.”

Laura Beth Richardson, another concerned parent, said she researched the school’s policy manual, and she concluded the “Drama Therapy” program was not handled correctly.

“This issue has become urgent,” she said. “Many parents, like myself, are beginning to lose faith in the system.”

Richardson said the school system needs to take the high road.

“Take responsibility for any oversights,” she said.

Tate requested that the “Drama Therapy” issue be placed on the agenda for the next school board meeting so the board members themselves are able to respond to the parents’ comments.

Two board members, however, went against the standard protocol and addressed the parents at Monday’s meeting.

“Mistakes were made,” board member Alysson Krchnavy said. “I certainly have read and seen every comment.”

As a parent of children in the school system, Krchnavy said she knows there are no “do-overs” for her kids.

“I am sorry that it happened,” she said. “I know we can do better and the administration wants to do better. From where I sit, I hear you. So please, let’s come together and get this right for our kids.”

Osman, a retired HHS teacher, echoed Krchnavy’s comments.

“I know that the people of Havre de Grace know where I stand,” he said. “Working with the administration and members of the community, we will solve this problem.”


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