An on-stage production of the literary classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” was canceled in a Milwaukee-area high school after school officials and some parents expressed concerns about the "mental and emotional health" of the students.
An email from Davis said there would be no public performance of "To Kill a Mockingbird," which was scheduled to be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, "due to mental and emotional health of our entire student body related to the production."
Not only that, the school district has now implemented an “improvement plan” to ensure nothing like this ever happens again, including establishing a “student equity taskforce” to hold monthly talks about racial justice and a new community communication system, as well as a review of the district’s curriculum.
All over a book aimed specifically at standing up to racial injustice. The report continues:
At a news conference Wednesday, Davis outlined steps the district is taking "to make improvements to ensure something like this does not happen again in Shorewood."
"Our most important misstep was not beginning our community conversations with our district community about the production much sooner," Davis said. "I acknowledge and take responsibility for that misstep."
Davis then outlined the short- and long-term steps the district will take.
Some short-term steps include establishing a new student equity taskforce, which involves a monthly dialogue on racial justice, getting more student input on drama productions, district policies and procedures and classroom curriculum. Other short-term steps include enhancing restorative justice practices and the district sharing its professional development conversations with the community.
Again: all over a book aimed specifically at standing up to racial injustice.
Patience Phillips, a local parent who said her daughter received a racially-charged threat on social media after the play was canceled, is now calling for the school board president to be fired, as well as new programs to be established at every grade level to "address racism.” Because that's not insane or anything.
Phillips said there needed to be "serious changes" at Shorewood. She called for the removal of the school board president, Paru Shah, Davis and drama director Joe King and the need for programs to address racism at every grade level.
"I want to use this moment while (the students) have momentum and all eyes are on them," Phillips said.
Phillips said she is not insensitive to concerns about censorship.
"But we've been censored for a long time," Phillips said. "We were murdered for reading. Now, when we're able to speak, people need to listen. There's a difference between censorship and human decency."
For the dozen or so hair-brained, weak-kneed wussies out there who’ve never actually read “To Kill a Mockingbird” but still call it “racist” because they’ve heard about it or something equally ridiculous, here’s a fun fact: the novel is actually a targeted strike right at the heart of racism.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel chronicles the unsuccessful attempt by the honorable attorney Atticus Finch to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who was wrongly accused of raping a white woman in Maycomb, Alabama. One of the most famous racial heroes in American literary history, Finch defies the racial norms of his time by taking up Robinson’s case, defying Jim Crow-era stereotypes and standing up to the mainstream bigotry of the Deep South in America during the Great Depression.
But what's all that, in the face of aimless emotion and hyperbole?