The members of a Maryland Girl Scouts troop—the Chesapeake Bay Troop 176—attended a public meeting of the Animal Care and Control Oversight Commission in Cecil County, Md., to protest the mistreatment of animals at a county animal-control facility. The Girl Scouts were allegedly told by a group of adults to “go back to Baltimore, where you belong,” WMAR reports. Some took it as a racial slight against the predominantly black troop.
The April 29 exchange was caught on video. The adults who were taunting the girls were allegedly supporters of A Buddy for Life, a company that provides animal control for the county.
Arianna Spurlock, one of the Girl Scouts, described the things that were said to her and her peers as they held up homemade signs to peacefully denounce animal abuse. “They were calling us, like, animals and stuff,” Arianna, 13, who is African American, told WMAR. “And I didn’t really know why because if they are calling us animals, aren’t they supposed to be helping animals?”
A senior leader with the Girl Scouts troop can be heard in the video telling the adults to stop using racially tinged language to insult the girls. “You guys, no racial comments, OK? Saying that they belong in Baltimore because they’re black, that is wrong. Please don’t say that, OK?” the man can be heard saying.
A Buddy for Life issued a statement saying that no one affiliated with its organization was involved in the back-and-forth. “A Buddy for Life, Inc. cannot control the words or actions of citizens that attended that meeting,” Jen Callahan, the company’s co-director, wrote.
An executive with Cecil County also reached out to the Girl Scouts troop, apologizing for their experience, and offered to meet with them to discuss the incident and take them on a tour of a county building.
Read more at WMAR.