Herbst weighs in on Rent, offers potential alternative

First Selectman Timothy Herbst responded Friday morning to the controversy surrounding the Trumbull High principal’s cancellation of Rent: The School Edition.

Herbst offers a potential alternative to performing Rent this spring

Below is his statement:

“Over the past week, I have heard from many members of the community concerning the production of Rent: The School Edition. I have heard compelling and passionate arguments from people on both sides of this issue. I have chosen to carefully weigh all factors before offering public comment.

I felt it important to weigh in on this issue because I do not want this decision by our school administrators to become a bigger issue for the wrong reasons. As First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull, my job is to hear what all parties are saying in an attempt to find common ground. Whether our community proceeds with this production should not be a battle of wills. This should be about offering a positive resolution going forward.

I have the highest personal and professional respect for Marc Guarino, Principal of Trumbull High School. In the short time I have known Marc, I have come to respect him as an educator who places the well-being of children as his highest priority. I agree with Mr. Guarino that decisions like this one should not be made in isolation. As principal of THS, he should have been consulted before a decision was made. There should be communication and collaboration. The presentation of Ren should be about providing for a dialogue rather than a speech. With proper collaboration execution, Rent should be an educational opportunity that teaches our students and our community about acceptance and responsibility. It should also teach our children about tolerance at the same time we teach ourselves to better communicate.

I believe there is a positive alternative that addresses Mr. Guarino's valid concerns while at the same time allowing Rent to proceed. Every summer, the Trumbull Youth Association (TYA) offers a summer musical for the community. Many of the Trumbull High School students who participate in our high school theater program are also members of TYA. Proceeding with this musical in the summer through TYA offers enough time to address the very valid points offered by Mr. Guarino. It will also allow graduating Trumbull High School seniors the opportunity to perform in this musical before they leave for college. Finally, this action will embrace the concept of collaboration, communication and compromise at the same time we try to teach our students the fundamental principles of acceptance, responsibility and tolerance.

It is my sincere hope that this recommendation will establish a dialogue and a workable solution that all of us as Trumbullites can respect.”