Tag Archives: racism

Scarice Updates Community On Alleged Bias Incidents

Last night, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice provided an update on Friday’s allegations of antisemitic and racist behavior in Cheshire, at the Staples High School football game. He wrote:

As the community is aware, there were allegations made on social media Friday evening, including: antisemitic and racist comments made in the stands, the presence of a Confederate flag, and the waving of an Israeli flag. School administrators and law enforcement from both Cheshire and Westport immediately commenced investigations.

Because of the rise in reports of antisemitic and racist incidents, we also immediately sought input from the Anti-Defamation League office in Connecticut. ADL works with schools and law enforcement to help ensure incidents are addressed appropriately.

The Cheshire Public Schools administration and the Cheshire Police Department have been  most collaborative and in constant communication with our administration and police department, sharing information and supporting each other’s investigation.  We are most grateful for this cooperation.

Today, we were informed by Cheshire Superintendent Jeff Solan and Chief of Police Neil Dryfe that their investigation has determined that the Israeli flag was not intended to intimidate Jewish people or motivated by antisemitism. Police reports indicate that the students who brought and waved the flag are Jewish, and have shared that they brought the flag to the game because it was a school spirit “Red, White & Blue Nite” in the student section.

Screen shot of the Israeli flag, in the Cheshire High School student section. It was later removed. (Photo/Jenny Bradshaw for Inklings)

At this point in the ongoing investigation — which includes the review of photos, video, and interviews with numerous students, staff, and police officers – there is no corroborating evidence to substantiate the presence of a Confederate flag.

Additionally, we were informed by the Cheshire Superintendent and Police Chief  that when Staples High School cheerleaders observed students in the stands waving an Israeli flag, and made a complaint to a Cheshire police officer, the officer informed the Cheshire High School administration and an administrator directed the students holding the Israeli flag to put it away. Fortunately the use of police body cams have confirmed this finding.

That said, the Westport Public Schools is fully committed to finishing our investigation by speaking with every student or community member personally impacted by these events. We will listen to each first person eyewitness account of these events and will reserve actions before concluding our investigation. Receiving this information from our Cheshire colleagues is helpful, yet we must fulfill our obligations to listen to each and every account. The administration will continue these efforts and provide ongoing updates to the community.

It is critical that the community understands the level of transparency and thoroughness that we have taken.

The Westport Public Schools and ADL, along with the Cheshire Public Schools, remain committed to fighting antisemitism and racism in any form and remain united in that effort. School administrators will be available to discuss this situation with any students who wish to do so. We are continuing to gather facts from eyewitnesses, so please allow us the time needed to fully assess what occurred and determine the appropriate response. Please contact us if you have relevant information.

Scarice Addresses Allegations Of Antisemitism, Racism

Social media exploded last night, with allegations of antisemitic and racist behavior by Cheshire High School students at last night’s football game against Staples.

Images of an Israeli flag, and charges of racist chants, were shared widely. Host Cheshire defeated the visiting Wreckers in a non-league game, 42-14.

This morning, Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice promised to investigate fully, and take action if necessary. At the same time, he urged caution and no rush to judgment, until all the facts are clear.

Scarice said:

“Late last night I was made aware of a number of social media posts alleging antisemitic and racist actions and comments directed towards Staples players and students during the Staples/Cheshire High School football game in Cheshire. I want to assure the community that any allegations such as these are taken with the utmost seriousness.

“I’d like to share some of the steps we’ve already taken. I received a message from the Cheshire Superintendent at 11:40pm last night, and he assured me that the district and Cheshire law enforcement are investigating this matter. We will continue to communicate until we have reached a resolution.

“I have spoken to Stafford Thomas, Staples principal, and Marty Lisevick, Staples athletic director, and they will speak with each and every Staples student or adult who has factual information about this matter.  “First Selectman Jim Marpe and I spoke this morning, and it is confirmed that our police chief, Foti Koskinas, will be in contact  with the Cheshire police chief.

“Perhaps most helpful in addressing this matter is the instant support that I received from the Director of the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, Steve Ginsburg. Steve has already spoken with me and Chief Koskinas, and to representatives from Cheshire, including their superintendent and police chief. We are all committed to cooperating, investigating, and addressing this matter.

“This incident was brought to light by some damning images and posts on social media. Given the volatility of social media, I caution all members of the community to take a measured approach in addressing matters such as these. It is necessary for the school administrations, and police departments when necessary, to gather facts before taking punitive action. If we confirm acts of anti-Semitism or race-based hate, we will assertively act. If there are misunderstandings, we will work together to learn from these events.

“Our  school administration will continue its investigation and follow up at the end of the day on Monday. If you were present at the game and have  information of any acts of antisemitism or race-based hate, please contact the Staples administration.”

[OPINION] Call To Action On Asian-American Violence

A Westporter writes:

I’m really concerned about the Asian population in Westport. I haven’t seen any kind of statement or anything else come out from the town or the schools in opposition to the tremendous increase in crimes targeting people of Asian descent.

According to a study by California State University, in 2020 alone hate crimes against them have risen by nearly 150 percent. The pandemic has exacerbated anti-Asian racism, but hate and violence towards the Asian community is not a new thing.

My daughter’s elementary school includes a large number of families of Asian descent. I want them to know that their suffering is shared by the larger community. That all of us are outraged, and their heartache, anger and fear is seen. That we are willing to stand united with them, and as a community we stand in opposition to the senseless killing and racism of all people.

I was hopeful that whoever organized the march in June protesting the murder of George Floyd would organize a vigil, a “stand in solidarity” or something. I wonder if there are other people like me who just don’t know how to get the conversation started.

I would be willing to help organize something, but I don’t know where to start. I’m relatively new to Westport, so any guidance would be appreciated. If you have any ideas, please email me: amyherrera@mindspring.com.

Town Hall flags fly at half staff, in memory of the victims of the Atlanta shooting. (Courtesy of Town of Westport/Facebook)

COVID Roundup: Racism; Thespians; Oystercatchers; More


Jaclyn Jeffrey writes:

People often talk about a moment in time that marks their life… the before and after.

We have 3 children, all adopted from China. We have lived in this area all of their lives, and have experienced nothing but total acceptance. On Sunday I took 2 of my children to Sherwood Island. We love it there.

It was not very crowded. We sat down a bit more than 6 feet away from a woman with her husband and daughter. As we put the blanket down she started screaming that we needed to be 15 feet from her. Not wanting to deal with her, we moved farther away.

Once we sat down, I Googled. She was correct: That is the current rule for shoreline state parks.

An hour later a couple sat down near her, 6 feet away. She said nothing.

As we were leaving she turned to my children and yelled, “Why don’t you go back to China?” The hatred in her words was palpable. My heart stopped.

Like many around the world I am horrified by the treatment of minorities in this country. The events of the past few weeks are beyond comprehension. I am enraged and heartbroken at what our country has become.

For just a brief moment yesterday at Sherwood Island I was witness to pure, raw, hatred for another because they are not white. As a white woman, I know I am very privileged. This was the first time seeing this up close and personal. I see it on TV, read it in the paper, watch the stories on my various news feeds, but to be in the presence of this evil was something entirely different.

Yesterday, was my before and after.

A good day, spoiled. (Photo/Amy Schneider)


Staples graduate/Grammy, Tony and Oscar-winning songwriter Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, The Greatest Showmani) joins his musical partner Benj Pasek — and Tina Fey, Dolly Parton and more –at the first-ever Virtual International Thespian Festival

Set for June 22-26, the online event — originally scheduled to be performed in person — features college and scholarship auditions, the International Thespian Excellence Awards Showcase (“the Thespys”), performances, workshops and master classes.

Pasek and Paul will be interviewed by moderated by their James and the Giant Peach book writer Timothy Allen McDonald. There’s also a keynote address from The Lion King’s Alton Fitzgerald White, and a performance fromRuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint.

To register for the festival, click here(Hat tip: David Meth)

Justin Paul (Photo/Dan Woog)


Yesterday, “06880” reported on the hatching of an oystercatcher chick at Compo Beach.

Now there are 2.

Tina Green notes: “Westporters should still give the oystercatchers a wide berth while in the area. The adults and chicks will remain in the area until the young birds are old enough to fly.

“Piping plovers, a federally protected species, are also on their nest. They too should not be disturbed, to insure a positive outcome.”

(Photo/Tina Green)


The pandemic has not been easy for many independent contractors — including photographers.

Yet David Dellinger — a longtime contributor to “06880” — is thinking of others. During this tough time, in an effort to support Black Lives Matter — and encouraging others to contribute too — he’s donating 50% of proceeds from all June photos sessions to the @mnfreedomfund.

In addition, he’s giving 100% from all print sales to other verified organizations that support #blacklivesmatter. Contact info@davedellingerphoto.com.

In 2018, David Dellinger photographed this Cockenoe Island wedding proposal.


And finally … in 1968, Phil Ochs was in the middle of a concert at Coleytown Junior High School. It was a fundraiser for the school’s Peace Corps project.

Someone handed him a note. He told the crowd that Lyndon Johnson just the nation he would not run for another term as president.

As 2020 looks increasingly like 1968, the underappreciated folksinger’s words are more meaningful than ever.

Confronting Hatred

To no one’s surprise, the story about the #WhiteLivesMatter flyers found in Westport has moved beyond our borders.

But even the most glass-is-half-empty among us might be surprised at the virulence that’s lurking in cyberspace.

AR15.comAr15.com — a gun-lovers’ site — reprinted a Stamford Advocate article about the incident. It elicited only a few comments. One reader suggested Westport needed “more section 8 housing” to increase our diversity. Another said simply, “boo hoo faggots.”

That’s nothing, compared to DailySlave.com. Click on this gruesomely racist, anti-Semitic, anti-just-about-everything site only if you have a strong stomach.

The site — whose motto is “Fighting Against Total Enslavement” — titled its piece “White Hating Marxist Retards Cry About ‘#White Lives Matter’ Flyers.”

No, it’s not satire.

Here are just a few of the anonymous comments:

  • Westport needs a huge infusion of Burn this Bitch Down Burntitmore and Fergadishu blue gummed Jungle Bunnies. Let’s start a campaign to Diversify Westport! Show them what they’re missing.
  • The old saying -THERE IS NO BLACK POWER>>>>>>JEWISH POWER >>>>ILLEGAL ALIEN POWER …. only white weakness…
  • Westport is located in Fairfield County, which is the wealthiest county in the Empire and includes or included residents like Paul Newman, Henry Kissenger, William F. Buckley, David Letterman and Kathi Lee “the Jewess” Gifford. But it also includes one of the shittiest ghetto cities in the Empire as well…Bridgeport. The jews and White liberals have been trying to get Bridgeport removed from their otherwise extremely affluent county for decades. They were also unsuccessful in keeping Interstate 95 from going right through the middle of their upscale little bedroom communities. GOOD.

Other anti-Semitic comments attacked Westport’s selectmen, and claimed “the only negro I ever saw in that town was old Otis who ran the dry cleaner shop (dumb as a bag of rocks but mostly harmless).”

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A “cartoon” posted on the Daily Slave website.

I debated with myself for quite a while about the wisdom of posting this piece. Would giving these sites publicity further embolden them, or provide some kind of credence? Am I playing right into their hateful hands?

Perhaps.

But ignoring the fact that these websites — and their readers — exist is dangerous too.

Commenters on those sites accuse Westporters of burying our heads in the sand about the real world.

No, we aren’t.

Not with #WhiteLivesMatter.

And not with you.