Case #1441.0

Deciding Who Decides: The Debate Over a Gay Photo Exhibit in a Madison School (B)

Publication Date: July 01, 1998
Current Stock:

Educator Access

A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint

Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

When teachers at a Madison, Wisconsin elementary school announce plans to mount a photo exhibit featuring families with gay or lesbian parents, school system superintendent Cheryl Wilhoyte faces a vexing decision. She knows well that the exhibit will be controversial and will likely offend members of the community, especially a group of conservative Christian parents. She knows, too, that liberal teachers will view the issue as one involving academic freedom, keyed to the school's system's "anti-bias" curriculum. In this leadership case, the superintendent must decide, in effect, whether and/or how to decide. Should this be a school-level decision? Or does it demand her own intervention? She must even decide on what grounds she should base her decide about whether to become involved.

Learning Objective:
The case is useful for discussions of leadership in a decentralized environment, as well as issues of how authorities must deal with cultural conflict in a public sector context.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Susan Rosegrant
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Danforth Foundation