UPDATE: 17-year-old arrested for making threat related to Shorewood H.S.'s 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Updated: 4:04 p.m. October 17, 2018
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Shorewood Police say they have investigated after a threat was made on social media to lynch black students at Shorewood High School in relation to the play "To Kill a Mockingbird" that was supposed to have a performance Wednesday night.
"The threat that was reported to district personnel during community conversation was reported to the Shorewood Police Department," said Superintendent Bryan Davis.
A 17-year-old male was arrested Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. for making the post. The social media threat compelled the Black Panthers of Milwaukee to speak their mind on the topic.
"It's important for us to be here to show the community we stand behind our children and that racism is intolerable, and if the KKK or the 17-year-old who said it wanted to harm our children, then uh it wouldn't have happened, not while we're here," said King Rick with The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee.
The group believes the district should have listened to the students concerns earlier.
"If they do decide to do the play in the future and the word is not deleted it's going to be a bigger problem. It's not going to be just the Panthers out here. It's going to be the community out here," said King Rick.
Shorewood's Superintendent says counselors have been available to students regarding this issue and also laid out short term and long term goals to address concerns about racial equality in the district.
The incident is under investigation.
Updated: 1:14 p.m. October 17, 2018
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The latest update from Shorewood High School is that no performance at all will happen.
The decision came Tuesday morning after a meeting between the director, cast and crew. They came to the decision that if they moved forward with just a dress rehearsal for family it would, "lose the original message they wanted to convey by performing the play and would be performing it for the wrong reasons."
The dress rehearsal has been canceled.
Shorewood Superintendent Bryan Davis says that the district is learning from the experiencing.
Updated: 8:19 a.m. on October 17, 2018
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Shorewood School Superintendent says there will not be a public performance of To Kill a Mockingbird on Wednesday.
This comes after the superintendent announced Saturday that To Kill a Mockingbird would take the stage for one performance.
An email was sent to parents and students early Wednesday morning saying there will be a dress rehearsal for the family of the cast and crew members only.
In the email, the superintendent says they canceled the public performance due to the mental and emotional health of the entire student body.
A press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the high school.
The Milwaukee Black Panthers will also host a press conference at the school at 6:30 p.m. Their press conference will deal with a social media post that referenced lynching black students at Shorewood High School. The Black Panthers want to assure students that they are safe.
Posted: 9:49 a.m. on October 16, 2018
It was the performance that was killed. For three whole days. It was called off after Students and parents protested. They were concerned after they learned the school play struck to the original dialogue in the 1930s novel and included the N-word.
"We didn't have any problems or conversations until last week when people started talking about it, protesting," said Jadon Roder. A junior at Shorewood High School, Roder plays Tom Robinson. He says tryouts were in September and during early practices the cast didn't even say the N-word.
"When I first found out we said it, I was uncomfortable, but I just realized I'm not Jadon, I'm Tom in this and I have to help relive this story and all the other black people that have gone through tough times. So, I'm kind of representing them," said Roder.
The superintendent announced Saturday that To Kill a Mockingbird would take the stage for one performance.
"I think one show is very powerful in itself though. Doing three would take away from the big significance that this show has now and the big message we're trying to
show," said Ashlea Fendyke. Fendyke plays Mayella Ewell in the production.
In addition to the one showing, Superintendent Bryan Davis put two extra events on the calendar: a community conversation the day before the play, and a talk-back between the audience and cast members after the performance.
"It's giving us an opportunity, giving community members an opportunity to ask us about our experience because even though we've had communications with students who
don't feel comfortable with the show there's been a gap between us and the community," said Fendyke.
Tuesday the community conversation on race opened dialogue about that racial slur.
"[We] take responsibility for the mess, honestly I'm going to be honest, that's been created over the last eight days. What we want to be able to do tonight is acknowledge we're hurting. As a community there's a lot of things that have been said, and I want to acknowledge those feelings," said Superintendent Davis.
For over an hour and a half a facilitator and educators led discussions and set the stage for the words that will be said at that same place the next day.
"It's hard for me to hear it and to say it, but I know that we have to relive what we've all gone through as a society and it's ugly, but the ugly has to be told," said Roder.
The single performance of To Kill a Mockingbird is Wednesday, October 17th at 7 p.m. in the Shorewood High School auditorium. Tickets are available to the community. After the performance there talk=back discussion between the audience and the cast members.