MHSS: No Place for Hate

MHSS: No Place for Hate

Stephanie Panicali, Senior Writer

Have you ever felt left out or excluded? Have you ever left out or excluded someone else? If you are a human being, the odds are you answered yes to both of those questions. In order to promote the acceptance of all students, South’s Civic Leaders are avidly encouraging the No Place for Hate initiative, a program created by the Anti-Defamation League that is helping students and educators take the lead on improving and maintaining a welcoming and supportive school climate both in and out of the classroom.

Robert Lightbody, history teacher and head advisor of the civic leadership classes, explains that this initiative is important because “academic success is not possible unless the emotional needs of our children are satisfied.” In other words, kids can’t excel in school if they don’t feel safe and valued.  Through this program, South hopes to join the 1,600 school across the country officially recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as a No Place For Hate school that promotes the inclusion and well being of all students.

The Anti-Defamation League, or ADL for short, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that was founded in 1913 with the goal of  stopping anti-semitism but today, over 100 years later, its main goal is to stop the discrimination of all groups of people and to oppose extremism and hate.

Matt Kirkpatrick, principal here at South, explains that it is important for the school to be recognized by the ADL in order to “create a climate at South where everyone feels safe and welcome, and to educate our students on the importance of treating each other with respect. Ultimately a school with a climate based on respect will be an educational environment that cultivates social, emotional, and academic success.”  

As a school being recognized by the ADL as a No Place for Hate will show all students that they belong and are deserving of respect. To help this along, the civic leadership classes kicked off the week of respect with a pledge that every student at South can take, which says they’ll help make the school a welcoming place.

“I visited High School South on Wednesday for the signing of the Respect pledge and was very impressed by the energy and commitment throughout the school to combating hatred and promoting a humanistic, respectful school climate,” said Superintendent William George, Ed.D.   “Our students continue to demonstrate their commitment to inclusiveness in how they support each other through participation in the Friendship Club, Circle of Friends, Unified Sports, Challenger sports opportunities as well as identifying needs outside our school community…The students at High School South have committed to improving and maintaining a school climate that is welcoming and supportive of all.”

If you haven’t already, you can take the online Pledge of respect linked below to commit to being kind, standing up for others, making all your classmates feel welcomed, and to making South a No Place for Hate.