Easthampton residents react to audio of mayor’s comments

Easthampton residents react to audio of mayor's comments
Updated: Apr. 29, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle has released an audio recording of her comments to a high school student under fire for being called racially insensitive and inappropriate.

People we spoke with in Easthampton had mixed reaction after hearing the audio recording of the mayor speaking to a student back in March.

Western Mass News has obtained the audio of the remark made by LaChapelle where you can hear her speaking to a student on the Easthampton High School’s We The People civics competition team 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, but what you have to do with your physical presence is say, like, ‘who (expletive) cares?’ I had a tough morning, sorry. (laughter),” LaChapelle is heard saying in the audio released Friday.

People of Easthampton are now weighing in on those comments made by LaChapelle.

“She shouldn’t be telling a student or anyone to speak different than what they are,” said Sherie Raymond of Easthampton.

Gary Bielumnis of Easthampton added, “There is no need to go carrying things, dragging people through the dirt and all that. People make mistakes, you know, and that’s all I think it was.”

On Wednesday, the Easthampton School Committee sent an email to parents at the high school calling those comments “racist and unacceptable.” People we spoke with told us they believe the remarks from the mayor were avoidable

“I think that if she’s going to make comments like that, she needs to learn to speak better herself,” Raymond noted.

However, others think it should not take away from the positive work that LaChapelle has done in the community of Easthampton.

“I think she’s being doing a good job so far and everything and I think she just said something that she really didn’t mean or it was taken out of context and stuff, but she seems to be a fine mayor,” Bielumnis said.

We did reach out to the mayor’s office for an interview, but they told us she was not available.