Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Charleston C. K. Wang, Esq., Publisher
It was an honor to chair the December 8, 2007 forum at Lakota Schools Administrative Building.
It was my hope that educators from Lakota East, parents of children, and the cast and faculty
putting on the play, "And Then There Were None," would be in attendance. I had hoped that the
first steps in reconciliation might be started for both the educators, the students and those
Sadly, only one teacher and one board member, of the 100 or so who came, were from the
faculty and school board. The absence of the teachers and staff spoke volumes about the depth
of the problems facing Lakota East and its multi-cultural community. The panel that spoke was
organized by Gary Hines, president of the NAACP. The goal of the forum was to clarify the facts
about the history of the play (Dr. Mark Christian, Miami University) and the facts about the
request for meetings to review the educational history of the play. The speakers were eloquent
as we learned that the original play's title,  and bookcover, was explicitly racist. Changes in the
title of the play and the book it was based on have attempted to cover up the roots. Also, we
heard from a Navajo student the negative impact of the current title in communicating and
insulting message about Native people (Ms. Wendy Creekmore, a law student at Northern
Kentucky University).

Mr. Hines also spoke about his desire to promote dialogue and not censorship at Lakota East
Perhaps the most powerful talk of the night was by the mother who initiated the request for
discussion. She was deeply upset that, as a white parent, her children would have to be
educated in a school system that refused to look at facing the history of a play that was
controversial (Ms. Jennifer Ciancio, Lakota East school parent and member of the board,

The controversy uncovered the ugliness of some of the reality of education in the affluent
suburbs of Cincinnati. Despite a tiny number of minority people in the district and the school,
and, despite the educational benefits of using a play to promote school and community
education, the school leadership has chosen the path of ignorance and hatred. The
consequences of this choice will reverberate throughout the school and the community.
Parents who had hoped for a progressive and respectful education for their children have to
reconsider the placement of their children in this school system. Minority parents who have
chosen to live in this community now are on public notice that tolerance, appreciation, and
compassion are not to be expected in the education of their children. Teachers thinking that
21st century education was what they were hired to work on, now realize that hot topics like
racial history are to be approached with great caution.

I hope that in the coming year Lakota East will address the important issues of educational
truth, social justice and cultural respect. Will leaders in the community step forward and bring
this school and its community into the necessary dialogue? Will teachers and students get the
education they will need in a world made up of many cultures and realities? The community
watches Lakota East for signs of progress -
Dr. Steve Sunderland 12/15/07.  To reach him
click here.