Calls for change in Westport schools after racism allegations reaches town-wide level

Last month, allegations of racism at Staples High School rocked a school board meeting. Members of TEAM Westport, the town’s multicultural committee, say it goes beyond school walls.

Tom Krosnowski and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Mar 7, 2024, 10:31 PM

Updated 38 days ago

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The calls for change in Westport Public Schools after recent racism allegations have expanded to a town-wide level.
Last month, allegations of racism at Staples High School rocked a school board meeting. Members of TEAM Westport, the town’s multicultural committee, say it goes beyond school walls.
“This is not a Westport schools’ problem. This is a town problem,” said Harold Bailey from TEAM Westport Chair.
School officials want to be part of the solution. They’re emphasizing prevention.
“I take responsibility and accountability for that, from a standpoint of being a leader for this community,” said First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker.
School officials said they’re working on a new code of conduct, which outlines and redefines the penalties for different types of student conduct.
“We want to make sure that we’re teaching kids, and we also want to make sure that we’re restoring relationships where we can, between individuals, between the individual and the school environment, sometimes between the individual and the faculty member,” said Westport School Superintendent Thomas Scarice.
Questions on how to penalize, and where to educate are still up for debate.
“This is an opportunity for the community to weigh in. It should not be one educator’s opinion on what happens when students commit misconduct,” said Scarice.
“Applying harsher disciplinary measures against our children is not going to solve the problem. I think what we’re seeing in our schools is really an outcry from the kids asking for help,” said Rosie Curtis, from Team Westport.
The Westport Board of Education's next regularly scheduled meetings will be happening Thursday evening and March 21.


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