A report on the arrest of two Pequot boys—Calvin Kilgore, 18, and Derrik Reels, 16—for brawling at school. From The Day:
Did race play a role in Ledyard High fight?
Students differ on how Mashantuckets are perceived by classmates
By Georgina Gustin
Published on 5/26/2001
Years ago, before Foxwoods Resort Casino rose like Oz from the woods of Ledyard, nobody paid much attention to the "rez kids," as students call them. But now, it's a different story, they say.
"If you're not Mashantucket, you're not popular," said one student, smoking a cigarette after school Friday afternoon. "They rule the school."
Other students say such an assessment is a little melodramatic, but even they concede that their Mashantucket heritage has lifted tribal kids a few rungs up the high school social ladder.
"Now girls want to date them because they're Pequot," said one junior, sitting outside the school Friday. "Because they have money."
The same student also said that many students and faculty find the Mashantucket Pequot students threatening. "If I hit her and we're in the hallway," the student said, pointing to another girl beside her, "a teacher would probably say 'cut it out' and move on. ... Teachers and administrators expect trouble from these kids, so they might have had their defenses up."
Another student said Kilgore —a basketball player who friends call C.J. — and Reels have been singled out by the school's youth officers. Their assault on the officer might just have been an outburst of intense frustration, she said.
"Derrik and Calvin feel that school is very discriminatory," she said. "If you have a white kid walking down the hall, and C.J. walking down the hall, they'll stop C.J. and ask for a pass before they stop the white kid. ... If they see him, they make sure they know where he's going.
"Yeah, they get sent to the office a lot," the student added, "but so do a lot of kids."
The police, however, say that there presence in the school and their enforcement efforts have been even-handed.
"I think that the fact that they're Chinese, or African-American or Mashantucket had nothing to do with this," said Ledyard's resident state trooper, Kenneth Olsen.
Comment: The stereotypes here include the idea that the Pequot kids are different because they're rich or because they're Indians.
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