A white middle school student spit on a Black tourist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Friday during a school trip.
The student reportedly spit off a balcony within the museum and hit the patron below, according to BuzzFeed News. The incident caused the students, visiting from Shelton Intermediate School in Connecticut, to be removed from the esteemed institution. About 100 students were visiting the museum.
The superintendent of Shelton Public Schools, Chris Clouet, wrote in a Facebook post that “this kind of action is not a reflection of who our students are, or who we are as a community.”
“This is not the time or place to talk about consequences. But this is now, regrettably, a pattern of behavior that is disrespectful and does not serve anyone well—including the student who acted inappropriately and embarrassed himself and his school,” Clouet wrote Friday.
Principal Dina Marks accompanied the students on the trip, and called the incident “an act of stupidity, disinterest, & immaturity, completely inappropriate,” she wrote in a now-deleted tweet, The Hill reports. However, she does not believe it was “racially motivated against that person."
After receiving widespread backlash for the tweet, Marks has deleted her Twitter account.
Clouet told BuzzFeed News that the student was sent back home to Connecticut while the other students were able to finish their school trip. He also confirmed that the student would receive school-based disciplinary action.”
"But more than the issue of discipline is the issue of teaching and getting past this sort of episode," he continued. "I think my job as an educator is to make sure we're educating our children to live in a multicultural world."
Some aren’t quite ready to get past the episode just yet.
A president of a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) told the Hartford Courant that the incident was “embarrassing.”
“He didn’t spit on anyone at the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial,” Greg Johnson said Saturday. “A total and complete lack of respect and one of the most degrading acts one can commit against another.”
In 2017, someone placed a noose within the exhibit on segregation inside the museum.