A handful of Children's Theatre supporters addressed the council, calling for improved treatment of the three staff members now on administrative leave and the continuation of theater programs through the summer.
"I am heartsick at this turn of events. This is tearing our community apart," theater supporter Barbara Slone said. After acting in the theater as a child, her son even chose to be married on the stage, she said.
The City Council can't interfere in an investigation, but why does the city manager have to approve the police department's formal statements, asked Bryna Rifkind. She grew teary when she mentioned Assistant Director Michael Litfin, who died a week after being placed on administrative leave Jan. 24.
"The staff must be allowed to go back to work for the sake of the kids," Rifkind said. "Please do not let this continue."
Chairwoman Paula Collins of the nonprofit Friends of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre said the Friends are concerned about the future of the theater's programs.
"We also want you to know the Friends are here to help the staff in any way we can," she said.
Councilman Pat Burt requested city staff to provide a report on the theater's summer planning.
City Manager Frank Benest said he would provide a report to the council March 17.