Audio released of Easthampton mayor’s remarks to high schoolers
EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle has released an audio recording of comments she made to a high school student after allegations that what she said was racist.
On Friday, LaChapelle issued a new statement regarding the incident and we’re getting more insight into the comments she made to a student in March.
“You get so worried about how you present, like your cadence. It’s a little…it’s not white. Like you don’t talk like a white person, right? and that’s fine,” LaChapelle said in the audio recording obtained by Western Mass News.
In that new audio, you can hear LaChapelle speaking to a student on Easthampton High School’s We The People civics competition team in March. Her remarks have raised serious concerns within the school community as she went on to say, “But what you have to do with your physical presence is say, like, ‘who (expletive) cares?’ I had a tough morning, sorry. (laughter)”
The full audio is below: (note: audio contains profanity)
A few days later, the mayor did apologize to the student once she learned the student was offended. This week, the Easthampton School Committee had planned to hold an executive session meeting with LaChapelle to discuss those comments, but the mayor refused to attend and instead stuck with remarks in open session.
“If there’s any outstanding questions that committee members have for me following tonight’s executive session, I am happy to answer them,” LaChapelle said during that meeting.
Following that meeting, the school committee sent an email to parents at the high school on Wednesday to inform them that they considered the mayor’s remarks “racist and unacceptable” and believed more restorative work needed to be done. Now, the mayor is responding in a new statement issued on Friday, which said:
“I ask the School Committee to send a second email to the entire Easthampton Public School community with the full four-minute audiotape of my remarks to the civics class and without any commentary. My remarks have been the subject of much debate and should be heard on their own, in their original delivery. The school community deserves to have the right to form their own conclusions about what I said.”
In more of the taped audio, LaChapelle finished addressing students during that We The People group practice.
“I had the opportunity to see the last group really quickly and I would say, for both groups, the command and this whole knowledge in depth around the answers is truly exceptional…You all held who you were and not trying to be the same, nice job,” LaChapelle said.
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