Dear editor,

When a person in an authoritative position over children behaves in such a manner that a child (children) feels intimidated or dehumanized, that person should face robust critique and corrective remediation. Especially when that behavior involves use of inflammatory epithets that denigrate one’s race and sexual identity.

In regards to how the recent incident involving a (Wausau East High School) band teacher and a Hmong student, it appears the denigrating behavior, based on race and sexual identity, resulted in feelings of intimidation and dehumanization, but the critique by (Wausau Schools) Superintendent (Keith) Hiltz was perfunctory at best.

The strong reaction by people within this student’s support system, to both the act and the resulting determination by Dr. Hiltz, makes it very clear that the entire incident has been mishandled and does not meet the standard of justice for everyone who has been affected.

Justice demands doing whatever it takes to make one whole. A community for all would demand steps be taken by Dr. Hiltz to make this student and his support system whole. The Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign demands justice!

The unsatisfying determination made by Hiltz in this incident underscores the entire Wausau School Board’s behavior of dismissal of the concerns and input of parents, teachers, unions and students, particularly people of color and poor working families. 

If the board was more engaged with the community, such incidents would happen much less frequently and be dealt with much more justly. Moreover, the level of “parental control” would prove far superior to banning books and promoting life threatening pseudoscience and distorted religious nationalism, as has been facilitated by the board’s current makeup. 

Unless this changes, we will see such behaviors continue and the cries for justice grow louder.

Bruce Grau, Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign, Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.