On Friday January 28, 2022, a visiting athlete from Wayland was subjected to racist, disparaging, and insensitive comments from spectators during a basketball game at Westford Academy. We, the Westford School Committee, wish to extend our sincerest apologies to the athlete, their team, their family, and the greater Wayland community for the hurt inflicted on them by members of the Westford community. We share the deep sadness and outrage that has been expressed by both our communities. We respect Wayland taking steps to put the well being of their students first, and are committed to collaborating with Wayland to repair the relationship between our communities.
Westford School Committee supports the ongoing investigation of the incident, and the initial consequences that have been administered to those involved. Furthermore, Dr. Chew, Principal Antonelli, and this committee have all reached out to our counterparts in Wayland to express our sadness, anger and regret over the incident, and to offer to partner with them in the healing work we hope will come out of it. It is the hope of the School Committee that a restorative approach will be used to address this incident. A restorative response places the focus on the harm done to the student-athlete from Wayland, as well as the harm done to the Wayland and Westford communities. The individuals responsible for this incident must continue to take steps to take full accountability for their actions, to learn and grow from the incident, and to meaningfully repair the harm they inflicted. We look forward to regular updates from the administration regarding actions being taken.
We know that no words can undo the harm that was done, and no one action can create safe and welcoming spaces for every person. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are ongoing, and we will move forward with a renewed sense of urgency. These are difficult conversations to have, and anti-racist work is not easy. We, the Westford School Committee, reaffirm our commitment to the continuing work of anti-racism as we reflect on and review our policies and practices. We acknowledge our responsibility to ensure that every member of our community, and all guests we share our spaces with, will be safe, respected, and feel the sense of belonging that every individual deserves.