A Far South Side grade school will not co-host a haunted house that contained, among other depictions, a representation of the June, 2016, shootings at the Pulse nightclub, according to CPS officials.
Fernwood Elementary School, 10041 S. Union Ave., was advertised by promoters as the location of a haunted house entitled The Room: A Journey to Hell that was scheduled to take place the evenings of Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. Fernwood was also initially listed as a co-sponsor of the event.
Nat ( who asked that their complete name not be used ) said that they saw a flyer for the haunted house at a restaurant at 104th Street and Torrence Avenue, adding, "I went in for some dinner, and promptly lost my appetite when I saw that."
Nat was initially intrigued by the event, "But when I saw Pulse was mentioned, my head just about blew up. How could they depict that?"
CPS spokesman Michael Passman told Windy City Times in an Oct. 28 email that the event will not take place at Fernwood.
"The event organizers mischaracterized the true content of the event, and we did not approve any association with the activities the organizers have now advertised," said Passman. "The event will not be held on CPS property."
Advertised as a "Christian interactive experience," the event is produced by Tyrone Tappler Productions. On Aug. 31, the company asked on Facebook for volunteers who'd depict the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting: "Club Pulse, Dancers, Victims … CAGED PEOPLE/SCREAMERS, Extras needed trying to escape a cage! … SOUNDS INTERESTING? COME OUT THIS SATURDAY!!!"
Among other scenarios reportedly depicted in the haunted house were a botched abortion and the 2015 Charleston church shooting. According to the ticket sales page, The Room "is a real life haunted house. Guests will experience IN YOUR FACE scenes of dark reality. … You will walk in 10 Rooms and encounter individuals who will make choices. The choice is life or death; sin or salvation; heaven or hell. The scenes will be action-packed, real and jaw dropping."
Nat said they were particularly bothered that promoters were talking about the events "in terms of 'moral choices'whose moral choices are we talking about? Is it immoral to just want to go out and be with your friends and dance? And what really bothered me was that this was in a public school supported by our tax dollars."
Windy City Times attempted to contact Tyrone Tappler Productions for comment at the number given on the The Room's Facebook page, but the call was not returned by press time Oct. 28. Tickets were still for sale on the haunted house's Eventbrite page, though an alternative location was not listed.
"If you want to have a haunted house with that kind of thing in it, have at it," said Nat. "But don't do it in a public school."