Joseph Musso, Sarah Dorfman and Elizabeth Burnham, of the\u00a02001 Wilton High School class, started a change.org petition on Thursday, Nov. 17, in response to the \u201cact of harassment directed at the Danbury players\u201d committed by some Wilton students during a Nov. 11 football game. "Joe took the lead in distilling the opinions shared by many alumni on social media into a single letter," Dorfman told The Bulletin. "It's important to continue to recognize that this an opinion shared by a broad swath of alumni.\u201d The petition asks for Principal Robert O\u2019Donnell and the high school\u2019s administration to \u201ctake concrete action and educate its students on the function of privilege in American society.\u201d \u201cWhile we find the incident itself repugnant, we are similarly dismayed by the administration\u2019s lackluster response to date,\u201d the petition states. The alumni thanked O\u2019Donnell and the administration \u201cfor recognizing that these student actions were inappropriate,\u201d but said they do not feel that \u201cthe underlying privilege and unintentional ignorance that can come from growing up in a sheltered, loving community like Wilton\u201d has been \u201csufficiently recognized and addressed.\u201d \u201cThe behavior of this group of students was reprehensible and inexcusable, but not inexplicable in a school community that does not openly discuss such topics,\u201d the petition states. \u201cAs the leader of the school community, it is incumbent on you to respond to such behavior with appropriate severity.\u201d As principal, \u201cwe recognize that [O\u2019Donnell has] numerous constituencies to balance\u201d and \u201cas representative of these many groups, a certain level of nuance is required in your response,\u201d the petition states, but \u201csuch nuance runs the risk of trivializing or understating the origins and impacts of important issues.\u201d \u201cTo say that the problem with this behavior is that it \u2018offends\u2019 other students,\u201d the petition states, \u201cfundamentally misses the larger issues of privilege and social responsibility\u201d and \u201cmore importantly, it detracts from the importance of this social issue by not calling this incident what it truly was: an act of bigotry and racism.\u201d Racist intent, the petition states \u201cis not a prerequisite for something to be identified as racist action.\u201d \u201cWhether or not the chants of \u2018build a wall\u2019 were targeted at the diverse Danbury population is irrelevant, and the administration should recognize that and respond accordingly.\u201d Instead of dismissing the students\u2019 language as \u201coffensive but harmless,\u201d the alumni are asking O\u2019Donnell and the administration to not only help students recognize their privilege and use that privilege to \u201cfight injustice,\u201d but teach them that \u201cinequality and injustice anywhere is a threat to equality and justice everywhere." As former Wilton High School students, the petition states \u201cwe recognize that the critical conversations on inequality and discrimination were not an institutionalized part of our educational development.\u201d While these student-led initiatives like the Gay-Straight Alliance \u2014\u00a0now the Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network \u2014 have \u201cbenefited enormously from school support,\u201d the petition states, \u201cit is not longer sufficient for the school system to simply encourage student action.\u201d The alumni are also asking the Wilton High School administration to \u201cdiscuss publicly the way they will become leaders in this conversation and formalize discussion of these critical issues in every classroom,\u201d as well as \u201ceducate and equip its students to identify discrimination and organize and advocate against it wherever it is found.\u201d \u201cDiversity takes myriad shapes, and discrimination against those different from us exists in as many forms,\u201d the petition states. \u201cIt is imperative that [Wilton High School] teach students to actively examine the causes and impacts of intentional and causal discrimination.\u201d Support As of 10:05 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, the petition had nearly 400\u00a0supporters, including alumnae Jacqueline Raposo ('99) and Mara Ventura ('04). Raposo said she remembers the "racist backlash\u201d that occurred when A Better Chance \u2014 a program that brings academically talented and motivated students of color from disadvantaged school districts to Wilton High School\u00a0\u2014 was introduced in the 1990s, and "what little was done to foster honest discussion." \u201cContinuing to shy away from these discussions,\u201d she said, does Wilton students and the community \u201ca huge disservice.\u201d When Ventura was a student at Wilton High, she said, "it felt glaringly obvious" that she was "one of the only students of color." \u201cThankfully, I didn't have to face blatant racism like what happened at the Danbury football game,\u201d she said, \u201cbut if I had, I would expect my administration to take swift action to demonstrate the value and importance that the few of us brought to [Wilton High School].\u201d \u201cThe longer your silence and lack of meaningful action, the worse the message you send to your students, their families, and the Wilton community,\u201d said Ventura. \u201cChoose to do the right thing, follow your values, and educate and protect your [Wilton High School] family.\u201d In a student body where \u201capproximately half the population is female,\u201d where \u201cLGBT youth develop their identity alongside their non-LGBT peers,\u201d and which \u201clacks significant racial diversity," the petition states, the curriculum must discuss: Gender equality. Systemic racism that affects minority communities. The impacts of societal and systemic bias that limit the constitutional freedoms of the LGBT community. \u201cWe thank you for the dedication you continue to show to [Wilton High School] students,\u201d the petition concluded, \u201cand we look forward to hearing about and further discussing your strategies to address our above concerns.\u201d Click here to view the petition.