Wealth causes division in Westport

The “wealth gap” has received plenty of attention recently, including being featured in President Obama’s State of the Union address this year: one percent of the US population owns 40 percent of the wealth. A Bloomberg report from several years ago said the New York suburban region hosts the widest wealth gap in the country.

One hallmark of Westport’s wealth is its many college counseling and tutoring services. Teachers said they lose their authority as educators when thousands of dollars are being paid to outside firms that argue they know best. “There are students in my class because some company told them that they should take X number of AP classes,” one teacher, who asked to be anonymous, said.

According to Security Guard Nelson Alicea, who worked in another town previously, many Staples students routinely park illegally, undeterred by the fee incurred. “This isn’t like the train station where you can pay a fee and park,” Alicea said.

“I don’t think students intend to flaunt their wealth,” Meredith Bemus ’14 said. “High school students are able to recognize their wealth and how they spend their money. They should be aware that they are extremely blessed with the economic situation that they are in,” she added.

“Since many of the topics in my class deal with issues of affluence and over-consumption, I do ask students to look hard at their lifestyles and the consequences of their decisions,” AP Environmental teacher Michael Aitkenhead said.