Upper West Side Middle School Stages Controversial Covid-Themed Play

  Last modified on September 10th, 2022

Theater Arts at The Center School (TACS), part of M.S. 243 at 100 West 84th Street, is facing scrutiny as word spreads about the COVID-themed holiday show its students performed in December.

Students from grades five through eight performed various skits throughout the production. One was to the tune of “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. The lyrics were changed to, “It’s safe to vax/and if your friends don’t vax/then they ain’t no friends of mine,” reports the New York Post. Students were seen holding signs for Pfizer and Moderna during the number as well.


Students in another sketch portrayed antagonists holding signs which read “I Fear God Not Covid” and “I Am Not A Science Experiment.” In the same sketch, “Other children appear to be dressed as conservative caricatures: a box of Kool cigarettes, a man in fatigues with an American flag, Napoleon Bonaparte and the so-called QAnon shaman Jacob Chansley, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot,” wrote JustTheNews.

After attending the play, Antigone Michaelides — whose child performed — wrote on Twitter that “…1 in 5 kids at that school are unvaxxed”.

Michaelides described the evening as “an abomination” when interviewed by the Post, going on to say that “It is discrimination and bullying and there is no reason you should make kids feel bad about themselves. Haven’t they been through enough in two years?”

Following the production, Michaelides also wrote a letter to the school superintendent, Christine Loughlin. In the note, she asks “How is it acceptable for a teacher, or teachers, to promote an agenda which encourages some children to turn against other children at the same school?”

The Department of Education is now investigating the matter. “Every student deserves to feel welcomed in their school and this incident was immediately referred for investigation,” said spokesman DOE Press Secretary Nathaniel Styer.

New York City doesn’t require public school students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are participating in “high-risk extracurricular sports and activities.”


“We had to show a vax card and ID to get in, so the indoctrinated audience, with a handful, maybe, of exceptions, was clapping along. The school figured they were preaching to the choir,” Michaelides wrote in a tweet before mentioning that she knew parents who were denied entry because they weren’t vaxxed.

John Turley, a professor at George Washington University who’s testified at congressional proceedings about constitutional and statutory issues, shared his take in a Feb. 20 blog post. “Regardless of how these signs were presented, the controversy highlights the unnecessary politicalization of our public schools,” he wrote. “This is just a little play and a small school. However, it is indicative of a rising concern over teachers using schools — and our kids — for political agendas.”

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