Letter to the editor submitted by Danielle Kerendian, GHS Alumna on Oct, 18, 2016
I’ve read several articles about the Greenwich High School Hitler play, in which the Connecticut high school football team called out “Hitler” and “Stalin” indicating which direction the offensive line was to go in response to a defensive formation, and as a member of the Jewish community and a Greenwich High School graduate, I’m disappointed. I’m outraged, I’m upset, I’m terrified, when the gravity of this situation is disregarded, and people who try to stand up for justice are often silenced and mocked as “social justice warriors” or “sensitive Jews.”
Like a decent human being, I was upset when I heard the news, but I was more upset with the reaction to it. Namely, the subsequent chatter on social media.
Fellow Greenwich residents, a volunteer football coach, and former GHS football players minimized and made vulgar, offensive and disgusting comments mocking not only the story, but the people in it. Claiming us Jews are “too sensitive” and the woman who reported the issue was a “bitch” and her son must have been a benched player.
Another detail that struck me by surprise was the fact that the report of this incident came from a student and parent from Trumbull, Connecticut, outside of the Greenwich community. It makes you wonder: would the practice have continued if this had not been caught by an outside source?
Lastly, a letter posted on Monday by Salvatore J. Corda, Greenwich’s Interim Superintendent, was strangely unapologetic and defensive. It called out the media on its perceived falsities related to the use of this horrific play.
The letter states some headlines are “inaccurate” and goes on to explain the actual use of the play. “This is not an excuse, only an explanation.” There is no explanation for this. It doesn’t matter if the coach “clearly displayed bad judgement” that was “not intended in any way to be an anti-Semitic remark.” Stating “there is no “Hitler” play” diminishes the seriousness of this issue and smells like a huge CYA (cover your ass) to me and many, many others – Jewish or not.
This apology should not have included positive commentary in which select members involved in the incident commended the town and school administration on its “prompt response to a delicate situation.”
The apology should not have showcased the way Greenwich attempted to mend the situation. This seems like a positive Yelp review or a PR ploy, not a full understanding of the situation at hand.
I think as a community we can and should do better and in my opinion, media is a great place to start. Through news, people need to be educated to fight back about intolerance and to not spread what is quite frankly, hate. Remaining silent is a failure, in my opinion. Which is why I authored this note in the first place.
I like to think I do my part to stand up for what’s right, and this I know, is definitely not right.