Letter: Work needed to make Shelton more welcoming

To the Editor:

As a student leader, I feel the need to speak out on this.

Any display of racism in our community is unacceptable. Shelton should be a warm and welcoming community for all. Sadly, we have many steps to take in order to achieve our goal.

This is not the first instance of racism in our schools. If I do remember correctly, we had a similar incident like this last year involving another student. In the high school there are a few drawers and desks with the term “n*****” or Nazi swastikas written on them. I have also met with a few residents while campaigning where I was able to catch a glimpse of their Nazi flag in their garage or a Confederate flag in their yard. While we strive to be a loving and accepting community (and we have done great work in our schools by creating gender-neutral bathrooms or by forming the Gay/Straight Alliance club, for example) we are not fully 100 percent there yet. It’s time we as a community admit this.

The punishment for a photo like that is up to school administrators. However, I feel that even more important than punishment, is harm reduction through education, so photos like the one currently under scrutiny don’t happen again, and so Shelton works toward its goal of being a more welcoming and loving community. I have been in communication with Dr. Clouet about creating a student-led program which educates younger, elementary-aged children about our differences, why they should be celebrated and not hated/feared, and why any form of bias/discrimination is unfair and therefore unacceptable. I hope to work with him, school administrators, the NAACP, and any other concerned citizens to make this program a reality.

Matt McGee

Shelton High senior

Democratic Board of Aldermen candidate, Third Ward