‘Close the Book on Hate”

Kristen Daley

I’m not blind . I know the same group of people doesn’t run this world. Every success we have had throughout our history has come from all different kinds of people – Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Chinese, Catholics, Jews, homosexuals, heterosexuals, and so many more.
Children go to school to learn about these successes and the people who make them a reality. They are taught about different cultures and religions. School systems do so to prepare children for their eventual move to the multi-culturally diverse real world.
My old high school did just that. They offered, and still do, classes that dealt with multiculturalism. Every year, they hold a multi-cultural fair where there are booths with information, food, and music representing a number of cultures.
The school also holds a program called, “Names Can Really Hurt Us.” The program gives students a chance to stand up and talk about how they have been affected by discrimination because of their race, color, creed, physical appearance, etc. I went through several of these programs myself, and found them to be a great experience.
Unfortunately, the message that my old school, and other schools, are sending about equality does not seem to sink in for everyone.
Just a few weeks into this school year, students at the East Haven High School in East Haven, Connecticut, were greeted with spray paint sprawled all over their school building, the school sign, baseball dugouts, and guard shack.
There were messages that targeted people of the Jewish religion. The swastikas covered the building where students were meant to feel safe. Racial slurs also covered the walls. These words brought my younger brother’s friend, who is African-American, to tears.
My brother, part of the predominate Italian group that attends the East Haven High School, was shaken up by the incident also. He stood as he and his friends saw the horrible writings on the wall, degrading their race and religion.
Students complained of just wanting to go home. They were discouraged that all of the work that they put into their multiculturalism and diversity programs was being put to shame by the actions of one single person.
The state of Connecticut watched as the students worked together to paint, wash, and cover up the spray paint.
The teen who committed the crime was eventually apprehended by the town police, offering closure for the students and faculty.
However, it was hard not to be frustrated with the answers and apologies from the teen. He said that he didn’t mean to cause harm, and that he did not realize what he had done.
After spray painting hateful words all over the side of a school building, all you would need to do is take a few steps back. He did just that, and he couldn’t believe what he did. Believe it.
Although it is not certain if the teen had a personal motivation for the crime, I do not believe that it should matter.
However, as much as I say that if you have a problem with someone you should just keep it to yourself, that will likely not happen among all people.
The kids at East Haven High School should not have been subjected to what they saw that day. They had the right idea when they covered one of the sprawls with a sign that said, “Close the Book on Hate.”
That is exactly what everyone – of every race, color, creed – needs to do today. We can’t let our next generation grow up being raised on that book.