Letter: Barrington school play should not have been canceled


To the editor:

Should the Barrington community be concerned about a canceled play at BMS? Clearly Janice Black and the school administration forgot that we study many difficult and controversial events in history, mostly to learn from them.

Our school leadership allowed one parent’s personal views to prevent a group of 75-plus children and their families from experiencing and learning important historical lessons about racial equality. If Ms. Black did not want her child to participate in this Aqua Cluster play then she should have kept her child out of the event, while our school administrators should have supported our outstanding Aqua Cluster teachers.

We applaud the Aqua teachers, including Mary Roberts, and other Barrington Public School teachers who work very hard to teach our children about difficult and sometimes controversial topics. Their efforts allow our children to think critically, analyze different perspectives, and then hopefully act to solve problems.

We are disappointed that the BMS principal and the superintendent did not take a stronger position in support of such teaching and the teachers themselves. Perhaps others in the Barrington community share our concerns.

Perri and Jonathan Leviss



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"If Ms. Black did not want her child to participate in this Aqua Cluster play then she should have kept her child out of the event,"

It is my understanding that Mrs. Black sent an email saying that her daughter would not be participating. Apparently, the "powers that be" had their own second thoughts about the production and its overall acceptance.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Report this

I heartily agree with Perri and Jonathan Leviss that any anger, discontent, or questions should be directed to the BMS principal and the superintendent. Why exactly was the play cancelled? Does anyone know? Surely not because ONE parent said that her daughter would not be participating????!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Report this

While there can be debate concerning why school officials cancelled the play, there should be no debate whether any individual family can request not to participate for their own reasons.

My understanding from the articles was that Janice Black simply asked that her family not participate. It was the administration who took it to the next level.

Were school officials reacting to their own zero tolerance policy against "weapons", be they simulated, or real (clubs are considered part of the administration's zero tolerance weapons policy). We don't know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Report this
comn sense

Dear Perri and Jonathan,

Are you serious??? You think that putting an 11 year into a KKK costume beating up on a black person doesn't send a coded racist message to children that all white people are closet KKK members?

You are simply naive. The truth is that during reconstruction, the KKK attacked anyone in favor of reconstruction, white or black. Then in the 20th century, their hate extended to immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor.

The problem I see is that the message as interpreted by an 11 year old was too one dimensional being that white people don't like black people. That was the wrong message to instill on the mind of an 11 year old.

What should be taught is that any supremacist movement is evil and wrong. But that might begin to sound like a Christian message, so that would be have to be banned in school.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Report this

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.