October 4, 2023

If there’s going to be drama, Greg Bailey prefers it occur inside his classroom.

As an alternative, the 46-year-old Temecula Valley Excessive College drama trainer is unwillingly on the heart of a culture-war drama, vilified as a groomer and unable to show his life’s ardour whereas in investigatory limbo.

In Might, Temecula resident Tracy Nolasco complained that her 15-year-old daughter grew to become distressed after being pressured to learn the play “Angels in America” in Bailey’s class.

Bailey, a Menifee resident and Temecula Valley Unified College District worker since 2018, has been on paid depart ever since.

First carried out in 1991, “Angels in America: A Homosexual Fantasia on Nationwide Themes” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tony Kushner that examines AIDS and homosexuality within the Nineteen Eighties. The play, which was made into an HBO miniseries, incorporates graphic intercourse scenes, profanity and grownup themes.

In his first public feedback since occurring depart, Bailey stated he by no means pressured anybody to learn “Angels in America,” one in all 10 performs college students can learn for an end-of-year task on Pulitzer-winning American playwrights.

Bailey stated he didn’t be taught of Nolasco’s misgivings till a month after the task and that he warns college students upfront concerning the play’s express content material. College students can learn one other play if “Angels in America” is just too upsetting, he added.

“On the very first days of sophistication, I let (college students) know that there’s by no means a time that they need to really feel uncomfortable in my room,” stated Bailey, who teaches freshmen via seniors and this summer time is directing a manufacturing of “Hamlet” in Temecula Valley Wine Nation.

If a mum or dad complains, “I’m very, very cheap,” Bailey stated. “Dad and mom do have the correct to have their college students not learn one thing in the event that they don’t need them to.”

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom says state will present social research textbooks to Temecula if faculty board received’t

Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Want” have been among the many different performs college students may learn for the American playwrights task, Bailey stated.

Bailey stated he tells college students “Angels in America” is “concerning the gay expertise within the 80s.”

“I inform them it’s concerning the AIDS epidemic,” Bailey stated. “I inform them that there’s grownup language in it. I inform them there are sexual conditions in it. I additionally inform them that it’s an epic piece of theater, that it received the Pulitzer Prize.”

Bailey stated he makes college students take notes on his lectures concerning the performs and hand their notes in “to show that they have been listening once I informed them what the performs have been about.”

Nolasco’s daughter was amongst these college students, he stated.

However in a cellphone interview, Nolasco insisted Bailey “didn’t put together (college students) for what precisely was going to be learn.”

“My downside with ‘Angels in America’ and with Mr. Bailey is the truth that that (play) was supplied as a selection,” she stated. “It was hidden within the (faculty) library for over 20 years. And he took it upon himself to make copies and to distribute it to my daughter.”

Bailey known as the play “a grasp work of theater.”

“It’s imaginative and poetic and exquisite,” he stated. “It speaks a few time in America and about part of the American expertise that’s essential, particularly for some younger people who find themselves searching for some sort of — any sort of — acceptance of who they’re.”

RELATED: Curriculum that mentions SF homosexual rights chief Harvey Milk blocked by Southern California faculty board

He added: “I maintain that play as a result of I’ve had quite a few college students who learn it and it has modified their life … I’m not speaking about LGBTQ+ college students. I’m speaking about college students who’re increasing their worldview or gaining empathy by desirous about different individuals’s experiences.”

Bailey stated he has “strict content material requirements” in his classroom that forbid profanity and hate speech, even when college students are performing and in character.

Nolasco stated she tried to e mail Bailey in April “days after the task” to ask that her daughter be assigned one other play. The varsity district’s e mail system blocked the e-mail after flagging it as inappropriate content material, she stated.

“(My daughter) went to debate stuff with him and he or she was getting upset and he was like, ‘Effectively, when you’re gonna be all delicate about it, then simply neglect it,’” Nolasco stated.

Bailey replied: “There was by no means any criticism made to me concerning the content material by the coed. If considerations would have been raised, I might have been more than pleased to talk to Ms. Nolasco at any time to handle her considerations.”

After not listening to from Bailey, Nolasco stated she tried calling and emailing the trainer and college directors — at one level, she hand delivered a printed e mail to the principal — however by no means heard again.

Ultimately, Nolasco spoke on the faculty board’s Might 16 assembly about her considerations with the play.

Board President Joseph Komrosky agreed along with her, saying on the assembly: “As soon as that sort of idea enters the kid’s thoughts, the sexualization, it’s over. It’s in there.”

The board’s conservative members are contemplating adjustments to district coverage supposed to maintain obscene and pornographic materials away from youngsters — a transfer critics concern may result in censorship.

Bailey stated he realized of Nolasco’s considerations Might 12, when he obtained a printed copy of one in all her emails.

The day after Nolasco addressed the varsity board, Bailey stated he was faraway from the classroom in the midst of taking attendance. He stated Riverside County sheriff’s investigators visited his dwelling and spoke with him for about 45 minutes, however no costs have been filed.

412 Church Temecula Valley Pastor Tim Thompson, a pacesetter within the effort to elect and defend Temecula’s conservative faculty board majority, known as for Bailey’s firing and accused him of being a “groomer” and of “perverted habits.”

Thompson “has by no means met me,” Bailey stated. “He has by no means attended my class. He has by no means heard me train … He is aware of nothing about my life. He made judgment calls about who I’m based mostly on some phrases in a play that I enable college students to learn in the event that they select to.”

The weeks since occurring depart have been “a combination of disappointment and anger,” stated Bailey, including that the fallout “mainly ruined the final month of my daughter’s senior yr.”

Whereas upset “that so many individuals locally would leap on this bandwagon of calling me names and having this hate for me … the response from individuals who do know me, who’ve seen me train, who know what I do and know what my program is about has been actually heartening,” he stated.

“It has been the factor that has stored me robust … I will likely be stronger on the finish of this it doesn’t matter what. However day-after-day is a problem.”

Bailey’s supporters, together with his college students and fogeys, held a June 2 rally for him close to Temecula Valley Excessive College.

Temecula Valley High School students from left, Geneva Davisson, 16; Marlee Adamo, 15; and Katie Landrum, 16; cheer Friday, June 2, 2023, as drivers honk in support of the rally for drama teacher Greg Bailey after he was put on leave from Temecula Valley High. (File photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Temecula Valley Excessive College college students from left, Geneva Davisson, 16; Marlee Adamo, 15; and Katie Landrum, 16; cheer Friday, June 2, 2023, as drivers honk in assist of the rally for drama trainer Greg Bailey after he was placed on depart from Temecula Valley Excessive. (File picture by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) 

Since taking workplace in December, the three conservative members of the five-member faculty board — Komrosky, Danny Gonzalez and Jen Wiersma — have made nationwide headlines for banning the instructing of so-called crucial race concept and rejecting an elementary social research curriculum that referenced LGBTQ civil rights chief Harvey Milk.

“I believe that the board make-up proper now could be harmful,” Bailey stated. “The last word destructive right here is that (they’re) dismantling the varsity district in Temecula by making it untenable for high quality lecturers to wish to work there.”

Komrosky and Gonzalez didn’t reply to requests for remark. Wiersma declined to remark.