NEW PRAGUE, Minn. (KMSP) - "The Foreigner" was supposed to have its first performance at New Prague High School on Friday night.
But school officials canceled it before opening night because of a social media post they say was insensitive.
"It's not shedding light on the situation," said Mario Dawson, a parent of two African-American students. "It's making light of it. It's not illuminating the situation, but it's darkening something that was part of our history."
YouTube is filled with videos of high school productions of the comedy about a pair of Englishman who visit a resort in Georgia.
But after one of the cast and crew posted a picture on social media of some of the actors dressed as Ku Klux Klan members wearing white hoods and robes as the play's villains, some of the school's 1300 students, only 12 of whom are students of color, were shocked to see such an ugly part of American history in a comic light.
"Social media doesn't have a lot of context," said New Prague High School Principal Lonnie Seifert. "It's a picture and unfortunately the picture it was depicting was not the plot of the whole play."
After meeting with concerned students and parents, school officials canceled the play, fearing the overall message of inclusion and acceptance would be lost in the chatter from the social media post.
"It's a tough decision, but we have to make decisions we feel are best for our students and our community and all of our kids," Seifert said.
But Dawson believes the early curtain call was the right thing to do.
"I was happy with the decision. I stand by that decision. That was the decision I wanted to see happen," Dawson said.
School officials say they will review how they choose plays and make changes if necessary in the future.