Clovis Unified gets national attention from for junior-high ‘Oliver’ ban

One of my go-to websites is, which gives a nice national summary of art-related news. The Munro Review has been featured twice in recent months: the first was for Doug Hoagland’s big piece on Measure P, and the other was for (no surprise!) my piece on the silliness that unfolded after first-grade teachers from Clovis Unified and Central school districts left a Children’s Musical Theaterworks school show of “Oliver” last Thursday because of concerns about content, triggering a decision by school officials to keep seventh and eighth graders from Kastner Intermediate School from seeing it the next day. (Different classes from Central Unified showed up at school shows on Friday, but none of the ticketed Clovis students scheduled for that day showed up.)

As kerfuffles go, it was relatively benign, mostly a reflection on an embarrassing, reactionary decision by a principal and area superintendent, but not enough for the Bee or GV Wire to hop on the story. My TMR story did get lots of reads, however, and landed me a Monday morning interview on KMJ, where we all cordially agreed that keeping middle-school students out of “Oliver” because of violence, drinking and “thievery” is laughable considering the grown-up cultural onslaught kids that age face today.

By the way: I encourage you to sign up for’s weekly newsletter, which is faithfully compiled by Doug McLennan. It always arrives Sundays in your emailbox. It’s a good way to start your week.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (2)

  • Gerald Palladino

    Donald…Good going. Your commentary counts! Thanks for bring attention to the ridiculous issue concerning students banned from seeing OLIVER at CMT. Shame on Clovis Unified.

  • Clovis is such a silly town. Its school system is just one of many of the sillies. Its parking system downtown is so silly that our retired teachers group, Ladies Who Lunch, refuse to go to any of the city’s restaurants after cars were towed during one luncheon. Not ticketed, but towed. So, nothing that the silly town and its silly citizens do surprises me anymore.


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