Editorial: We must do more to stop hate

(Illustration by Millie Diaz)

By the Southwords Editorial Board

Since the beginning of the school year, several hateful incidents, including bathroom graffiti, the hacking of the district website, and an assault, have occurred within the Maine South community. Whether the behavior is a result of the isolating pandemic or societal conflicts, any form of hate negatively reflects on the school community at large. Although the school has acted quickly in response to these incidents, to further develop a more inclusive community, students would benefit from more class discussions, curriculum reform, and student involvement and voice. 

By devoting class time to discuss pressing and possibly uncomfortable issues occurring within the school and community, teachers can transform the school’s culture. Classrooms are safe spaces for students, and these welcoming forums can not only make a student more aware of the issues, but can also inspire them to share their beliefs and experiences with others. 

In order to raise more awareness, these topics should be woven into the curriculum. While Hawk Pride addresses issues of inclusion, we need to see these modern issues in our coursework as well. Furthering students’ knowledge of racial justice and LGBTQ+, indigenous, and minority communities can give them more insight into current issues and debates. Students can then utilize this information to become more aware of their own and other people’s backgrounds, making students more open-minded and less likely to participate in or tolerate microaggressions. 

Through emails and prepared statements, these events become generalized instead of personal. Conversations between students, whether they occur within or outside of the classroom, inspire accountability among a group of students who may not initially care. It is important to communicate the impact of hateful actions before another incident occurs. 

Students need to understand the harmful impact of actions and that there are consequences for the crimes they commit; those consequences must be clear.

As students, it is our responsibility to hold friends and peers accountable for their actions, rather than actively contributing to the hate with our silence. Students need to actively work to “re-sensitize” their peers, in order to prevent more hateful actions and allow Maine South to become a more welcoming, safe space for everyone.

With full-time in-person learning suspended, students find themselves with more free time and less accountability from teachers and peers that they no longer see face to face. The isolating nature of the pandemic can contribute to feelings of loneliness and seclusion, which could contribute to students acting in a hateful manner for attention.

As a Maine South community, we must stand firmly against hurtful behavior and take preventative measures to protect our students and staff.

Comments are closed.