Web exclusive: Cummins votes against letting rural, low income kids watch 'Hamilton'

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Controversial school board member Lisa Cummins voted against a proposal to allow rural and low income students to see the musical "Hamilton." (Photo via Utah State School Board video)

(KUTV) — For 2,300 Utah students, it was the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to see the hit musical "Hamilton."

It is the lyrical story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, as interpreted through the eyes of virtuoso Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The plan was put forth by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The organization would provide free and reduced tickets to the students to see the musical when it visited Salt Lake City last year. The proposal was expected to pass without a hitch, but broke down into a debate about the accuracy and historical significance of the musical.

School board member Lisa Cummins objected to the musical.

"Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean we should just automatically jump on the bandwagon,” she said. “We have a responsibility to our students to teach them the truth.”

Cummins, who calls herself a "wannabe historian" called Hamilton a "True Politician,” and suggested that his might not be the best example of America’s founding fathers to show students.

“This is not somebody I want to think this was great because we expand government, he was very much for expanding government,” Cummins said.

She also protested the use of curse words in the play.

“Are we really teaching about what happened or just sharing a musical that has vulgarity?” Cummins said.

Board member Spencer Stokes made it clear that the district was aware of all the questionable words in the musical, and spelled that out in a release form sent home to parents. He also said the musical was emotional and educational.

“I am absolutely moved to tears by this thing,” Stokes said of the show. “But I’m also learning."

Cummins was not alone in her opposition to the musical. Board members Michelle Boulter and Joel Wright were also opposed.

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