For many years, Eric Henry was one of Mystic Valley's biggest boosters.
"My wife would ride around when she was pregnant saying, ‘That's where I'm going to send my kids,'” recalls Henry, who is Black.
As a military man, he especially loved the school's strict discipline.
From the time the triplets started kindergarten, he was an enthusiastic member of the school community, serving on the parent-teacher organization, attending board meetings and even volunteering on Kinnon's political campaigns.
But the Henrys began having reservations when a seventh-grade teacher persistently misspelled Dewayne's name.
Then, in eighth grade, Thora had a conflict with an English teacher that spiraled out of control.
She was called "insubordinate” and accused of creating "drama,” charges she only ever saw directed to Black students.
"My white classmates could be standing right there and I wouldn't even be doing anything, but I would be the one who got in trouble,” says Thora, 16, who left Mystic Valley and now attends Malden High.
16岁的索拉说:“我的白人同学可能就站在那里，而我甚至什么都没做，可能就遇到了麻烦 。”索拉离开了神秘谷，现在就读于莫尔登高中 。
Eric Henry says he once embraced the school's philosophy but now finds it abhorrent.
"Now, when I read them talking about their steadfast commitment to this concept of ‘American culture,' it makes me cringe to no end,” he says.
"I hear people complain about critical race theory, but from my understanding we need more of it.
Isn't it just the truth to say there's systemic racism in America? I think, in this society, we fear those facts that are from the perspective of the victim.”
说美国存在系统性的种族歧视，这难道不是事实吗? 我认为，在这个社会中，我们害怕那些站在受害者角度的事实 。”
The controversy over assigning Mark Twain originated with Henry's friend Saeed Coates, a Black real estate investor with three daughters at Mystic Valley.
关于指定阅读马克·吐温的争议源于亨利的朋友赛义德·科茨(Saeed Coates)，他是一名黑人房地产投资者，有三个女儿在神秘谷上学 。
Coates had never read Tom Sawyer before his eldest brought it home last winter.
Perusing it, he was disturbed by the book's repeated use of the N word.
"My fifth-grader should not be made to feel uncomfortable,” Coates says.
"I think it's insane they're exposing fifth-graders to ethnic slurs.”
No children of other races, he pointed out, were subjected to a barrage of racist insults in their class readings—only Black children.
Coates complained to the school, which pulled the book temporarily, replaced it with a sanitized version and supplemented it with a lesson on racism, he says.
Teachers also worked to put the book in context, describing the conditions Black slaves faced in 1840s Missouri and pointing out that Twain was an abolitionist.
But Coates was furious that the book stayed in the curriculum: "It means nothing to say, ‘Racism's bad, now let's get back to the book.'”
但科茨对这本书留在课程中感到愤怒:“没什么好说的，‘种族主义很可怕 。现在我们继续去学这本书吧 。'”
The Coateses are considering private school instead, and he says they also may sue for discrimination.