Based on interviews with local adults and youth, the play Willful—from the Cornerstone Theater Company and the California Endowment—dramatizes a school policy from the view of the students it slams. Sacramentans Donald Lee Calhoun Jr. (American Legion High School) and Kai Michelle George (Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy) radiate that reality. The pair, plus writer Julie Marie Myatt, director Ashley Teague and actor Marcenus Earl nail “willful defiance,” a catchall discipline term some school personnel use. Characters played by Calhoun, George and Earl compel us to see how this does not work. Why care? Data on W.D. reveals it expands skin-color injustice in public classrooms. Black and Latino students are far more likely to face temporary and permanent removals from public schools compared to their white peers. After the play, audience discussion rocks the house. Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson's Assembly Bill 420 seeks to change W.D. policy.
Willful airs on Access Sacramento at 6 a.m. on Thursday, August 8; 10 p.m. on Sunday, August 11; 2 p.m. on Monday, August 12; and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, August 13; http://cornerstonetheater.org/plays/talk-it-out.