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Shorewood school fumbles effort for community conversation on race

“Those shielded from hearing it are also those who need to know the meaning of the word the most. Because the word is not the legacy of African-Americans, but rather a yet-to-be resolved legacy of trauma for the White Americans who created it.” – Dr. Kenneth Cole

In an eMail released on Sunday, October 14, Shorewood High School announced its intention to perform the cancelled play, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Originally scheduled for a 3-day run from October 11, the school halted the award winning drama program’s show just hours before the curtain was scheduled to rise. The whiplash-style decisions highlight the fumbling efforts by administrators to process concerns over the play’s use of inappropriate racial language – which was at the heart of the story’s message.

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Dear Parents and Guardians,

From Wednesday through late tonight, I have heard from and met with individuals and groups about the cancellation of our play “To Kill A Mockingbird.” A common theme among both supporters 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.
Dear Parents and Guardians,

From Wednesday through late tonight, I have heard from and met with individuals and groups about the cancellation of our play ” To Kill A Mockingbird”. A common theme among both supporters 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.

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.

– Dr. Bryan Davis, Shorewood School Superintendent

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Lee Matz

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