Superintendent: White Shelton student spit on black visitor at museum
SHELTON — A white male student from Shelton Intermediate School spit on a black visitor during the school’s trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, school officials said Friday.
Superintendent of Shelton Public Schools Chris Clouet said in a letter to the Shelton Public Schools community that the action caused the group of Shelton Intermediate School students to be kicked out of the museum. Clouet said the trip was a part of the annual trip to Washington, D.C. He said the action “is not a reflection of who our students are, or who we are as a community.”
Although Clouet said it was not the time to talk about consequences for the student, he did acknowledge “this is now, regrettably, a pattern of behavior that is disrespectful and does not serve anyone well — including the student who acted inappropriately and embarrassed himself and his school.”
No other details about the incident were provided.
He said although school officials will address what happened at school, he urged families for their support by speaking to their children at home, too.
“Shelton schools and the Shelton community can do better,” Clouet said. “We must.”
Valley NAACP President Greg Johnson called the incident a “complete lack of respect, and one of the most degrading acts one can commit against another.”
He called out the city as a whole, saying there was a major problem.
“You need to institute a zero tolerance policy with regard to racism immediately,” Johnson said. “You have not been proactive with these situations ... This stops today, through cooperation or litigation; there will be accountability for the racist, vile environment that you all have allowed.”
This is the second seemingly racist incident involving a Shelton Intermediate School student this year.
The girls involved with the photo, which was posted through social media application Snapchat, apologized and had their written apologies on display during an assembly at Shelton Intermediate School on Sept. 13.
After hearing of that, Johnson called the school’s reaction inadequate and announced a rally for Sept. 25 at the Shelton Board of Education offices.
During the September rally, dozens of organization leaders, students and residents from across the state stood with NAACP in saying that the photo of the student in blackface with a racial slur below the image was a hate crime and demanded to see stronger punishment for such actions.
“This incident in the city of Shelton is not a mistake, but a message,” said Akia Callum, Connecticut State Conference NAACP Youth & College president, during the rally. “My skin is not your costume.”