In the small town of Missoula, Montana, two students showed up to a homecoming “Color Wars” spirit event wearing homemade “white pride” shirts with offensive words sprawled across the front such as “REDNECK,” “WHITE POWER” and “TRUMP”.
Ah, what a day to be alive.
Each year at Polson High School, students from each grade engage in a homecoming exercise where each class wears a different color to school – black for seniors, white for juniors, blue for sophomores, green for freshmen. Whichever class ends up recruiting the most students to wear their color is declared the winner. Previously there has never been any controversy with this pep rally.
Polson High quickly came under public scrutiny when this little thing called “the internet” found out that two students from the junior class wore racially-offensive white supremacist shirts supporting Trump’s campaign to the rally. Polson District Superintendent Rex Weltz spoke with The Washington Post and stated that the student’s were immediately asked to change by faculty members. But alas, they were no match for a 16 year-old with a smartphone. Within hours, word of the misconduct had spread across the web, leaving the rest of us to stare sadly into the distance, shake our heads and have a moment of silence for the hope of our future.
” . . . It is important to remember that, while all students have First Amendment rights, schools have the authority and the responsibility to prohibit speech that is harmful to other students, and to maintain a safe learning environment,” Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the American Civil Liberties of Montana, said in a statement. “This incident sadly reflects how we are failing our children in teaching them mutual tolerance and respect for those of different backgrounds.”
What this incident reflects is that not one group of people will go unaffected by Donald Trump’s hate messages. Our kids, our future, are mindlessly supporting a campaign that goes against many schools’ character trait themes, such as respect, integrity, empathy and cooperation – just to name a few. This incident reflects more than just the blind ignorance of a couple sixteen year-old kids. It reflects the state of our nation and the danger that this could become the future of our nation.
Borgmann also stated that ACLU would be investigating the homecoming incident and putting a stronger emphasis on the anti-bullying and anti-racism policies already in place. She advises anyone who is offended by this incident to be encouraged to protest peacefully or write a strongly worded letter to the district superintendent.
Will a strongly worded letter free us from Trump’s hate messages altogether? No?
Worth a shot.