Sign the Petition to Save the Benicia High School Drama Department!

[Note from BenIndy: This post was updated May 8 to reflect the Benicia Unified School District’s response to the petition, available at the end of the post. Arts and performance play huge roles in developing students’ expressive abilities and emotional intelligence. Offering our students comprehensive educational experiences that cultivate the creativity, empathy, and critical thinking skills will give them tools and rules they will lean on their entire lives.]

Save the Benicia High School Drama Department! | Image from petition.

From the petition started by Susan Black:

Visit the Benicia High School (BHS) website and you are greeted with this quote:
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
But you can take away the opportunity to learn. That’s what BHS is doing.

Just a year ago BHS tried to sideline its Dance Department. Through the efforts of parents and community members like you, the school reversed its position. Now the Drama Department is on the chopping block!

Here’s what’s going on:

  • BHS is dismantling the Drama Department and we have to stop them!The high school has said that it will not come up with the money to pay a full-time drama teacher moving forward.
  • Last year BHS eliminated the Stagecraft and Advanced Drama classes, changing the theater teaching position from full-time to part-time. Now it is planning to cut the program even further by eliminating Drama Production as a 7th period class and offering it only as an afterschool program.  This means that our students would no longer receive high school credit for their hard work in the Fall and Spring shows.
  • Benicia Middle School currently offers many theater classes including Stagecraft and Advanced Drama. Without theater classes at the high school,  BMS students will have no place to continue their studies when they reach high school.
  • Next year BHS plans to offer the drama teacher only a small stipend to manage the Fall and Spring productions (currently the Drama Production class)—which is just a fraction of the current pay for the same amount of work. This will make it very hard to find and keep a qualified drama teacher moving forward.
  • But this doesn’t have to happen! With the passage of Prop. 28 in 2022, public funding is available to hire a full-time teacher and maintain the Theatre Arts program at BHS!
  • Whether students are involved in improvisational theater, taking an acting or stagecraft class, or working together to produce a play or musical, theater arts provides experience in communication, creativity, and teamwork with productions being a particularly useful way to hone time management and problem-solving skills.  The theater program at BHS also serves as a hub of acceptance and belonging, improving self-esteem and participation in school classes, school events, and their community.
  • BHS Theater Arts’ long tradition of excellence has resulted in many students successfully pursuing careers in the performing arts. This includes Austin Scott starring as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton on Broadway! Not bad for a small town! Let’s keep the tradition alive!

Send BHS a message that our community expects better and our students and teachers deserve better! 

SIGN this petition and SHARE it with everyone you know!


Benicia Unified School District issued the following in response to the petition:

“Contrary to what has been circulating, the Benicia Unified School District values the Drama program and has committed to investing in its long-term stability through enhanced programming and an upgraded Performance Arts Building. Several misconceptions occurred because the Drama program has experienced a reduction in program sections over the past couple of years.  These reductions are directly related to decreased student interest and enrollment, not the District’s intent to reduce the program.

Note: The Benicia Independent is not affiliated with BHS, BUSD, or any of the individuals associated with this petition, nor was it asked to promote the petition by any of those groups or individuals.