Shelton Students Kicked Out Of Smithsonian After Spitting Incident | Connecticut Public Radio
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Shelton Students Kicked Out Of Smithsonian After Spitting Incident

Oct 14, 2019

A Connecticut town is dealing with another incident in which a student in the district is being accused of committing an alleged racist act.

Students from the Shelton Intermediate School were thrown out of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. Friday after a white male student allegedly spit on a black patron.

The students were on a field trip at the Smithsonian and, after the incident, they were asked to leave. It comes at a critical time for administrators in the district – about a month after a different middle school student apologized to her classmates for posting a Snapchat photo of herself in black face with a caption that included a racial slur.

“I said to myself, ‘We’re here again,’” said Greg Johnson, the president of the Ansonia Valley chapter of the NAACP.

Johnson said he recently appeared in front of Shelton’s board of education to ask the board and the district superintendent about acting on the previous incident.

“I just stood in front of the board of education in Shelton and the superintendent and pleaded with them to hold these students accountable for these racists behaviors or these behaviors would fester. It holds true to what happened in Washington D.C.,” Johnson said.

Christopher Clouet, the superintendent of schools in Shelton, addressed the incident with community-at-large via Facebook the day it happened.

“This is not the time or place to talk about consequences,” said Clouet in the written statement. “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.”

Maeve Holler graduated from Shelton High in 2013. She tweeted about the incident, saying it didn’t surprise her.

“It’s behavior like this that comes from a community that doesn’t want to acknowledge that racism and classism and things like that exist in their community,” Holler said to Connecticut Public Radio after a reporter followed up with her about the tweet.

Holler said she remembers there being a general sense of apathy toward issues of race in Shelton schools – particularly in the curriculum.

“From what I remember, Shelton Public Schools was a majority white public school system, so that is one factor that leads to a lot of people not acknowledging that racism exists,” Holler said. “But beyond that, there’s very little education that is offered to students about these issues.”

Johnson, the NAACP chapter president, said he wants the student to be suspended and face criminal charges for the incident. He also said he’s done with the school principal – who, according to the Hartford Courant, said the alleged act comes more from stupidity than racism. 

School was closed Monday for a holiday. The superintendent and the principal weren’t available for comment.