In the wake of the story last week about a small group of WHS students heard chanting “Build the Wall” at the Nov. 11 Football game, response has been vast across print, electronic and social media. We’ve received a few letters that we’ve been asked to publish, which we are doing so here. Other conversations and comments can be found on our Facebook page and on various Wilton-based social media pages.  

Wilton Interfaith Action Committee:  Appreciate Our Diversity

To the Editor:

We express our deep concern about statements that have the effect of demeaning or diminishing others based on their ethnicity, national origin, race, religion or any of the many other elements that account for the great diversity of American society.

We are stronger for that diversity and need to hold up our appreciation of it both in what we say and in what we do.  We know that upholding to be in the longstanding spirit of Wilton and reaffirm it as a key to our strength in community.

The 36-Member Steering Committee
Wi-ACT, the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee

Thankful for Other Events at Nov. 11 Football Game

To the Editor:

This Thanksgiving week, I truly am thankful for our town. In the last week, I’ve found myself involved in so many vibrant conversations regarding racism, bigotry, free speech rights, and the integrity of media reporting–more than I can count, and I appreciate all of the people that have opened this dialog and confronted these issues through conversation.

I think the issues raised from the chanting of a small group at the Danbury Game are incredibly important teachable points, and I’m thankful the high school set aside time in their curriculum to address these critical issues. I hope that the students, teachers and administration will take this dialog further and constantly consider how we can all help positively shape the future to stand up against racism. There’s truly no place for it in this town or this country.

I would like to also acknowledge that I am thankful for two other aspects of the Danbury game, ones that were not highlighted by the news. First, the game opened with a moving Veterans Day ceremony to celebrate all those who have fought for the freedoms we appreciate every day. The team wore red, white and blue jerseys, and decals of the American flag on their helmets. The marching band was amazing–a band member told me there were 176 [student musicians] in the marching band that evening–an incredible representation of the high school.

In the fourth quarter, with five minutes left in the game, a Danbury player was injured during a play. Both the Danbury and Wilton players (over 100 total) kneeled quietly for over 45 minutes in the freezing cold to support this Danbury player. As my friend, Kris said, “You could hear a pin drop in that stadium for more than 45 minutes while everyone waited for the player to receive medical attention and be sure he was OK–parents, players, students and community members.”

Wilton is a wonderful town, and I feel defensive of its goodness. I am thankful to be a part of this community. I also grew up here, and have received so many messages of people thinking that the words of a small group are representative of the town. We need to strive for increased diversity and acceptance in this town and in the country–thankfully I feel surrounded by many people with this same drive. Happy Thanksgiving and #love06897.

Julie Stein

GOOD Work of Students is the Model

To the Editor:

Your article yesterday on our Wilton Schools’ unity fundraiser, organized by the students themselves, extending across our school system, and spearheaded by the junior class, has prompted us to write.

In all of the important and necessary discussion about the chanting by a few and its hurtfulness, we want to underscore that many across our whole community recognize the outstanding work for the good done by so many students at Wilton High School and in our other schools as well. Sadly, such important work does not get the publicity of hurtful words, but it is significant in so many ways and extends over a broad range of efforts, from feeding the hunger regionally, nationally and even abroad to aiding refugee families, to environmental awareness, to helping in efforts to find cures for major diseases, to work in addressing domestic violence, and to help offered and undertaken in so many other areas. Their work is done at school and also through our town’s civic organizations and faith institutions.

In short, Wilton students are aware of needs across a broad range of fields and creatively and faithfully act to address those needs in multiple ways. They care for others and seek to be inclusive and supportive. They are models for us all.

Sincerely,

Debi Forsyth and Steve Hudspeth

“Wilton–You Are Better Than This”

To the Editor:

I recently read about students chanting at the Wilton HS football game “Build the Wall” when the team played Danbury. In the interview with the principal about the event I thought the principal’s message was weak with regard to his ability to moderate this behavior. High schools across the country have rules about what people can say, do, and how they dress on campus. This applies to the classroom and the athletic fields. It applies to the students, staff and anyone in the stands at a sporting event. Of course the school can deem what is allowed and what is not allowed on school property and for the principal to suggest otherwise is absurd.

If the chant was “Go back to Africa,” would that also be acceptable because of the “free speech” argument? Is it any less offensive? Why?

With regard to the students’ defense of their actions that this chant was not meant “that way,” I would ask, do these students use the same chant when Wilton plays Darien? Or perhaps the students meant that this is a traditional Wilton cheer that the school has been using for many years, and it is a coincidence that it happens to be a mantra for Donald Trump and some of his campaign promises?

Wilton…you are better than this.

Richard Sobel