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Wilton students chant “build a wall” at school’s football game


By Alex Reiner ’18

Wilton High School students chanted “build a wall” during a high school football game between the Wilton Warriors and Danbury Hatters at Wilton High School on November 11, referring to the the slogan used by president-elect Donald Trump and his supporters in his promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Danbury’s mayor Mark Boughton, was “outraged” by the remarks, calling them “deeply offensive to our community.”

The remarks resulted in an apologetic response by Wilton’s principal Robert O’Donnell. The apology stressed that the incident did not reflect the high school’s beliefs.

The students denied that the chant had malicious intent towards Danbury. Wilton’s High School government issued a statement saying that the words were chanted only to cheer on the team’s defense.

“We would like you to know that this behavior is not emblematic of our general beliefs, nor something that is congruent with our vision statement, which champions the important constructs of leadership, integrity, and empathy,” O’Donnell said. “Clearly, some of our students fell short of meeting these standards on [November 11].”

Steve Ginsburg, Connecticut’s Anti-Defamation League regional director, has reached out to Wilton’s school leadership to make sure that it is a learning experience and anyone offended receives a proper apology.

Danbury is Connecticut’s fastest growing town because of immigration. It is also one of the most diverse towns  nationally, and Danbury High School has 40 languages spoken throughout its halls.

Danbury is not the only place where students have chanted “build a wall” since the election. In Royal Oak, Michigan, Royal Oak Middle School students chanted “build a wall” in the cafeteria at lunch, causing chaos throughout the community. There have been over 200 altercations like these since the election, according to Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We recognize that sentiments continue to run high post-election; as educators, our mission is to help students create dialogue and understanding around controversy and contention,” O’Donnell said. “As a result, we will use this incident as a teachable moment, and foster discussion around the rights and corresponding responsibilities inherent in members of a civil society.”

Since the incident, alumni have reached out to Wilton High School calling for O’Donnell to be stricter towards these students, so that it does not happen again

Staples principal, James D’Amico said that he would be as disappointed and embarrassed as the Wilton administration if this happened at Staples. “It is a shame when the ignorance of a few individuals can disgrace a community,” D’Amico said. “I don’t think those who started the chant represent the broader Wilton community, just as those who might engage in such actions would not represent our Staples community.”

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