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Letter: Tweets Are Teachable Moment for Wilton

WILTON, Conn. - The following is a letter from State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, on the recent set of offensive tweets from a high school student.

We have been presented a teachable moment in our town. A series of offensive tweets allegedly sent by a high school student is being investigated by the police and the state’s attorney.

The hateful language contained in these tweets does not represent the community in which we live and should not be tolerated in our homes, our town, or our state.

In the past, several towns in Connecticut have also been targets of anti-Semitic or racist incidents. These incidents provide us with teachable moments for parents and the school community to imbue their children with value of tolerance and respect. A serious discussion should be had regarding prejudice in all of its forms and the damage that it causes.

The message we must send is that there is zero tolerance for this kind of conduct. Our society was founded on the principles of respect and tolerance of the individual’s race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. Too many have sacrificed and fought to uphold these principles. We must send a clear, unequivocal and united message that this offensive behavior has no place in our town.

Jamie Vollmer, author of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone,” writes that vigilance in the prevention of bullying is at the core of what we adults can do to help.

Do we remind our young people of their responsibility to interact fairly and thoughtfully with everyone around them?

Are we alert to signs of despondence or of fear in going to school that may reflect the impact of bullying?

Do we monitor computer use?

Do we step up to the plate to see that our own kids acknowledge responsibility if they have been victimizers? We as parents and grandparents can do much to raise awareness on this important issue and not just brush it off as the ignorance of youth. The great Jewish leader and teacher, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was famous for his acts of kindness and teaching us to respect each and every life. He believed in the balance of good and evil and that each act of kindness would tip the scales for good and change the world for the better. It is our responsibility as adults and role models to take this opportunity to teach our children well.

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