Shorewood has to use N-word in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' due to licensing rights

Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 18:23:12-04

Shorewood High School students will perform To Kill a Mockingbird and they will use the N-word, despite the controversy.

Students and teachers involved with the play met during lunch Monday to talk about getting the play ready for the stage in the midst of all the attention.  

"We prepared as a cast for all possibilities of what could happen and the possible responses," said Will Aldana.  

Shorewood Superintendent Bryan Davis said they have to use the N-word if they want to perform To Kill a Mockingbird because of licensing issues.

"We can't legally do the production if we take the word out," said Davis.

The district initially canceled performances last week because of potential protests over the use of the N-word.

"Increased safety concerns around protests and people being on or around our campus for the production," said Davis.

When calls came in from concerned citizens outside Shorewood the Superintendent thought it was best to get proper security in place first.  The district now plans to hold conversations about race before and after the play.  

"One to increase awareness of racial justice issues both in our school and our community and then ultimately to lead to action," said Davis.

Davis said this idea came from students. 

"If there's a positive that comes out of this situation it's that our kids are leaders," said Davis.

Students are excited and nervous for Wednesday, but feel like they have a responsibility.  

"I want to do a good job for our cast, but now we want to do a good job for our community and now we want to do a good job serving the message of our play," said Aldana.  

"We've been through a lot and I think it's gonna be great," said ZeZe Eiland.

The superintendent said he and the principal will help choose plays moving forward. 

"The selection process will be reviewed by myself, the principal and the director and I think the emphasis certainly is on community outreach.  Again, that's the area that the three of us dropped the ball on for this situation," said Davis.

The Community Conversation on Race is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Shorewood High School theater.  The performance of To Kill a Mockingbird is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. followed by a talkback session about race.