Civic Theatre is bringing Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill A Mockingbird to the stage February 8-23, 2019. In partnership with the ACLU of Indiana, Civic will host over 3,500 middle and high school students at eight matinees of the play, providing an educational resource guide, along with Guest Experts, to discuss topical issues from the play, relevant in today’s society.

While To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Alabama during the Jim Crow era, it is evident that we continue to face racial disparities in our criminal justice system today. From police practices and prosecutorial decisions, to sentencing policies and re-entry programs, these disparities plague every tier of our criminal justice system, across the Nation. The ACLU is pleased to work with Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre to shed light on racial disparities in the criminal justice system through this educational program.

There are critical questions that must be discussed about this literary classic, such as - why there are no black characters with agency in the novel or what is the impact of Atticus Finch's role as the "white savior." We hope that this partnership will help the audience ask these tough questions, and contextualize disparities in the criminal justice system in modern-day issues.

Issues covered through the partnership will include racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline. Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem. We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or the religion to which they adhere.

Students will discuss these connections through the school-to-prison pipeline as well, which is a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, when they most need support from their schools and communities. These policies overwhelmingly impact students of color. Black students are suspended and expelled from school three times more often than white students.

Among the Guest Experts addressing these challenges will be Frances Watson, Clinical Professor of Law & ACLU of Indiana Board Member; Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director; Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Senior Staff Attorney; Mark Nicholson, Civil Rights Attorney; Dorie Maryan, ACLU of Indiana Board Member; Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director; Rhiannon Edwards, PACE Executive Director; and Stevie Pactor, ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney.

For tickets, and more information about and Civic Theatre, visit

TKAM Criminal Justice Infographic