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Controversy Erupts as School Board Votes Against Popular Musical

A heated debate over a high school musical took center stage during the Northern Lebanon School District board meeting on Tuesday night. The Addams Family musical, one of the most popular high school comedies in the country, was voted down by the board, with only two members out of nine voting in favor of the show.

Board members Michelle Bucks and Robb Faller voted for the show to be produced.

Board member Troy Williams, who is also a pastor at Calvary Church in Lebanon, argued that the show has no place in the district. “The question at hand is, is the musical appropriate for the students, faculty, staff, parents, and community at large for the Northern Lebanon School District? And the answer is no,” he said.

Several board members took issue with the musical’s dark themes, scenes of violence, and scenes of children smoking. They also expressed concern about the show’s promotion of what they deemed to be bad values.

“I have bigger dreams for NL than just reflecting more of that,” said board member Robbie England. “I believe we have the opportunity and obligation to be counter-cultural and raise the standard and send out graduates from NL that will embrace the values that we want them to on the Viking Pride posters around the school.”

Despite some board members arguing that the show could be edited to make it more acceptable, Board President Barry Naum expressed skepticism. “The fundamental thematic theme, for me that I could see, was moving towards darkness, embracing death, embracing despair, embracing the pain,” he said. “If a number of school directors for this community view this as potentially being problematic for the standards of the community, then I think that’s probably a good enough reason for us to go in another direction.”

Superintendent Gary Messinger Jr. assured the board that there is still time to find another musical to perform in 2024. However, the decision has sparked controversy among students and community members, with many expressing disappointment and frustration on social media.

The Addams Family musical has been performed by several area high schools, including Cedar Crest, Hershey, Lower Dauphin, Cumberland Valley, and Harrisburg Christian Performing Arts School. School boards elsewhere in Pennsylvania and in Florida, Indiana, and Kansas have also canceled or challenged high school musicals recently, with complaints that the content isn’t family-friendly.


Jacob Keiter is a husband, a writer, a journalist, a musician, and a business owner. His journey to becoming a writer was one that was paved with challenges, but ultimately led him to find his true calling. Jacob's early years were marked by a strong desire for creative expression. He was always drawn to music, and in his youth, he played in several bands, chasing the elusive promise of fame and success. However, despite his best efforts, Jacob struggled to find the recognition he craved. It wasn't until he hit a low point in his life that Jacob discovered his love for writing. He turned to writing as a form of therapy during a particularly difficult time, and found that it not only helped him to cope with his struggles, but also allowed him to express himself in a way that he had never been able to before. Jacob's writing skills quickly caught the attention of others, and he soon found himself working as a journalist for The Sun out of Hummelstown. From there, he went on to contribute to a variety of publications, including the American Bee Journal and Referee Magazine. Jacob's writing style is reflective of traditional journalism, but he also infuses his work with a unique voice that sets him apart from others in his field. Despite his success as a writer, Jacob also owns another business, JJ Auto & Home, which specializes in cleaning. Jacob's commitment to excellence is evident in all of his endeavors, whether it be in his writing or in his business ventures. Today, Jacob is the author of two books and continues to inspire others through his writing. His journey to becoming a writer serves as a reminder that sometimes our darkest moments can lead us to our greatest achievements.

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