A group of 100 students and their 12 chaperones were thrown out of the National Museum of African American History and Culture after one of the students, a White male, caused a disturbance by spitting on a Black visitor to the museum.
The students were all from Connecticut's Shelton Intermediate School and were asked to leave immediately.
The school's superintendent, Chris Clouet, wrote on Facebook:
"This kind of action is not a reflection of who our students are, or who we are as a community. This is not the time or place to talk about consequences."
In a since-deleted tweet, Principal Dina Marks wrote that she doesn't believe the spitting was meant to be a racial attack.
"It was an act of stupidity, disinterest, & immaturity, completely inappropriate, but I believe, not racially motivated against that person."
Nonetheless, Clouet was quick to confirm to The Hartford Courant that the student involved would be facing some sort of disciplinary action, with full awareness that the student's actions could have had serious emotional consequences, whether or not they were intentional.
"Far too often unkind acts in our world are excused because it was 'only a joke.' The individual who was spit on may not see it as a joke. I suspect it may have been more rude than racist. Not certain how the visitor to the museum on the receiving end of the act would perceive it."
The President of the NAACP's Ansonia Valley chapter, Greg Johnson, isn't so willing to accept the idea that race had nothing to do with the incident, however.
He commented to The Hartford Courant:
"He didn't spit on anyone at the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial. A total and complete lack of respect and one of the most degrading acts one can commit against another."
Principal Marks would later write on Twitter:
"Our kids are not bad people. We are all pretty sad tonight."
The offending student was reportedly sent home to await disciplinary action as his 13 and 14 year-old peers continued their trip.
"Founding Director Lonnie Bunch's deeply personal tale of the triumphs and challenges of bringing the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to life. His story is by turns inspiring, funny, frustrating, quixotic, bittersweet, and above all, a compelling read."
Have you listened to the first season of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!'?
In season one we explored the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
We're hard at work on season two so be sure to subscribe here so you don't miss it when it goes live.
Here's one of our favorite episodes from season one. Enjoy!