Published Online: May 20, 1998
Published in Print: May 20, 1998, as Take Note

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Folk ruckus

The fourth time was a charm for the Indigo Girls, the Grammy-winning folk-rock duo.

The singers played to their teenage fans at a public auditorium in South Carolina after their appearances were canceled by administrators at three high schools this month.

Both the duo's sexual orientation and lyrics became issues for officials at two schools in Tennessee and one in South Carolina. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, who make up the Indigo Girls, are openly gay, and their lyrics include some profanity. The Atlanta-based group had planned to kickstart their summer tour by performing a free, acoustic concert at each school with time set aside for a question-and-answer period about music.

After the principal of Irmo High School in Irmo, S.C., canceled their May 7 performance, the Indigo Girls arranged a free concert at The Township, a 3,200-seat auditorium in Columbia, S.C. About 2,500 tickets were given to area high school students, and an estimated 1,800 fans turned out.

"Our public schools should be a safe environment for an open exchange of ideas and a chance to explore one's own individuality," Ms. Ray said in a statement released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Fake bills

Two recent school projects were too real for the Secret Service.

At Stacey Intermediate School in Huntington, Calif., 7th grade teacher Lisa Westervelt received a visit from Secret Service agents after a local newspaper publicized a class project involving photocopied dollar bills.

While a picture of Ms. Westervelt replaced the picture of George Washington on some bills and others had illustrations of animals stamped on them, the bills were illegal because they were the same size as real money, said Trish Cannady, a spokeswoman for the Westminster school district, which includes Stacey Intermediate School.

And at Hobbs (N.M.) High School, an 18-year-old student used a poster board with both real and fake money to talk to her classmates about counterfeiting.

Capt. Mark Fritts of the Hobbs city police said he raised the question of whether real counterfeiting had occurred after three high school boys, who found the discarded fake bills, were caught using them. Secret Service agents--officers of the U.S. Department of the Treasury whose duties include investigating counterfeiting--talked with the boys and their parents. No charges were pressed, he said.

--ADRIENNE D. COLES & MARY ANN ZEHR

Vol. 17, Issue 36, Page 3

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