Shorewood reverses decision, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' will be performed after controversy over use of N-word

NOW: Shorewood reverses decision, ’To Kill a Mockingbird’ will be performed after controversy over use of N-word

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) – Shorewood School District is reversing its decision to cancel the high school's production of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' after controversy over the use of the N-word in the play.

On October 11, to avoid potential protests, the Shorewood School District cancelled the high school’s production of the play 'To Kill a Mockingbird', after parents and students voiced their concerns of the N-word being used during the play. Staying true to the language of the book, Shorewood High School theater students were going to say the N-word on stage. Sunday morning the District reversed itself and announced the performance will go on.

In an email sent to parents of Shorewood High School students, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Davis announced that the play based on Harper Lee’s novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' will be presented on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. followed by a talk back session after the performance.

In addition to the performance, the school will host a "Community Conversation on Race" from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. before the play on Tuesday night in the auditorium.

In the email to parents obtained by CBS 58, the Dr. Davis said he had heard from both sides of the issue.

 “Dear Parents and Guardians,

From Wednesday through late tonight, I have heard from and met with individual and groups about the cancellation of our play “To Kill A Mockingbird”. A common theme among both supports of the cancellation and supporters of the performance was the need to engage in these difficult conversations about race and racial inequities as a way to improve our schools and our village.

We will launch these conversations this week with two events:

  • A Community conversation on Race on Tuesday, October 16th from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm in the Shorewood High School Auditorium.
  • A performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird” on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 pm in the Shorewood High School Auditorium. A community talkback will occur after the performance. Information about tickets will be provided in another email.

We encourage all community members to come to both events.  We will be working closely with the Shorewood Police Department to make sure the previous concerns around safety and security are addressed.

The District is committed to continuing these honest conversations about race as a way to identify areas for improvement, recognize the voices of students of color, and bring the community together.

Thank you to the students, parents staff and community members who contributed to the conversation this past week. It has been a difficult four days. I appreciate your honesty and your patience and look forward to continuing these conversations with you throughout the year.”

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