Principal: Group to address discrimination after racist Snapchat post by Fairfield Warde student

Photo of Tara O'Neill
A file photo of the Fairfield Warde High School on Melville Avenue in Fairfield, Conn.

A file photo of the Fairfield Warde High School on Melville Avenue in Fairfield, Conn.

Contributed Photo

FAIRFIELD — A local high school principal announced the creation of an organization to address discrimination after a student was arrested last week when he posted a photo with another classmate and a racial slur on social media, police and school officials said.

Lt. Antonio E. Granata said police were called to Fairfield Warde High School on May 7 to investigate a Snapchat post with a racial slur written in the caption. Granata said the derogatory text on the image of the student was directed toward a juvenile classmate, also in the photo.

The 16-year-old boy who posted the image was arrested. He was charged with second-degree breach of peace and ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race. Granata said the parents of the students involved were contacted about the incident.

When asked if any action was taken against the student arrested, like suspension, school officials said information on specific consequences are not released in the “interest of student privacy.”

An online petition has been started, calling for the student to be expelled.

“Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) shouldn’t have to encounter this type of racist harassment from other students in a predominantly white institution.” the petition reads. “Fairfield Warde High School should take racism seriously, and the student who posted the racist comment should be expelled immediately.”

In a letter to families on Monday, principal Paul A. Cavanna announced the formation of the Warde Unity Coalition to foster unity in the school community. He said the group will focus on issues of discrimination. Those interested in joining the group can fill out the the Warde Unity Coalition Google Form online.

“Racism will not be tolerated at Fairfield Warde High School,” Cavanna said.

The principal said he spoke with students on Monday morning, during extended homeroom, about the incident. He said he covered federal, state and Board of Education policies on discrimination and reminded students of resources available to them.

“Incidents of this nature do not define our school,” Cavanna said. “ It is the manner in which we respond that will define our school community moving forward. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all members of our school community are treated with dignity and respect.”