Shelton Public Schools in Connecticut confirmed in a Facebook post Friday that one of its white students spit on a Black visitor at the National Museum of African American History and Culture during a recent class trip.
The superintendent at the middle school noted in the post that a group of students were recently “thrown out of the Smithsonian’s highly regarded African American History Museum” because a white male student “spit on a Black visitor at the museum,” Chris Clouet said in the statement.
“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,” the superintendent added, according to The Hill.
Clouet told BuzzFeed News that he’s not certain about whether the incident was racially-motivated. In a since-deleted tweet, principal Dina Marks shared 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,” she wrote.
Adding “Our kids are not bad people. We are all pretty sad tonight.”
Greg Johnson, president of the Ansonia Valley NAACP, called the student’s actions “assault,” and added, “It’s spewing hate.”
“A total and complete lack of respect and one of the most degrading acts one can commit against another,” he said, adding: “It’s an embarrassment not only to Shelton, but to Connecticut.”