SHELTON, Conn./WASHINGTON D.C. (WTNH) — A group of Shelton Public School students was kicked out of the African-American History Museum in Washington D.C. last week because a white male student spit on a black visitor, according to the Superintendent.
The Superintendent of Shelton Public Schools, Chris Clouet, released an explanation of the event with a strongly-worded rebuke of the student’s actions on Facebook Friday saying:
“This kind of action is not a reflection of who our students are, or who we are as a community. This is not the time or place to talk about consequences. But 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.”– Superintendent Chris Clouet, Shelton Public Schools via Facebook
That post generated widespread reaction.
“We find it horrible and appalling,” said Josh Kestembaum, a Shelton parent.
“I was sickened,” said Carlin Kestembaum, a high school student who went on the annual class trip when she was a student at SIS. Kestembaum’s father calling it “disgusting”.
Greg Johnson, President of the Ansonia/Valley branch of the Connecticut NAACP had an even stronger reaction: “That’s an assault. It’s spewing hate.”
But, the principal of the school, Dina Marks, who was on the trip in D.C., later put out a tweet that had a different account of what happened:
“The incident at the African-American Museum involved a student spitting over a balcony. It allegedly hit a visitor, a person of color. It was an act of stupidity, disinterest, and immaturity but, I believe, not racially motivated against that person.”Principal Dina Marks, Shelton Intermediate School via Twitter
News 8 discovered that her tweet was later deleted.
This all happened just weeks after the NAACP led a protest at a Board of Education meeting after a female student in Shelton posted a picture of herself in blackface on social media, using the N word in a caption.
Johnson reiterated the Superintendents sentiments saying there is a pattern of student behavior in Shelton that needs to be changed:
“I stood before the superintendent and his superiors at the Board of Education not even two weeks ago pleading for them to hold these young folks accountable for these behaviors because this is the manifestation of what will happen if they don’t.”– Greg Johnson, President of the Ansonia/Valley branch of the Connecticut NAACP
Johnson and the NAACP are working with the school district to begin programs to train students on acceptance and respect.
The superintendent says he will deal with disciplinary measures against the student involved when the group returns to school next week.