Saturday, January 23, 2010

Letter from ADL yanks" No Place for Hate" campaign from Wheatland schools

Update to hummingbirdminds 1/22 post...

Found the text of this letter on the Boulderpride blog (thanks Boulder bloggers):

In a letter today to Platte County School Board members, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Mountain States Regional Director Bruce H. DeBoskey said:

We write to express our outrage and dismay that your School Board voted to ban the display of No Place for Hate® banners at West Elementary School and Wheatland High School because they include the logo of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a major sponsor of this free program. As a result of your decision, we are compelled to withdraw the No Place for Hate® program from the schools in
your District.

The No Place for Hate program is designed to teach young people the values of respect and inclusion for everyone in the school community, and we cannot continue to offer the program in your District if you will not permit the display of a banner (hard-earned by many dedicated students, teachers, and community members) that includes the words “gay and lesbian.” To continue our program in light of your decision would be the height of hypocrisy, turning a blind eye to intolerance and repudiating the principles of inclusivity and respect that our program teaches.

The No Place for Hate® program has been embraced by dozens of schools in Colorado and Wyoming as a successful way to make schools safer and more inclusive, by providing anti- bullying training and promoting respect for all students. At schools where this program has been implemented, attendance is up and disciplinary actions are down. Students have reported that they feel safer and more welcome at school because the students, teachers and community have worked together to make their schools respectful, and inclusive. The safer schools are, the more students will attend, and the more opportunities they will have to learn. It is a shame that your decision will impede the important progress that has already been made on these important issues.

As you heard at the School Board meeting on January 18, this program has been in effect for over a year at one of your schools and for several months at the other school. The Wheatland students who have participated have enthusiastically supported it, believe they have benefited from it, and want it to continue. It saddens us greatly that your decision will send a message to these students that adults in Platte County openly endorse bigotry against the gay and lesbian members of your community.

If you should change your position at any time and permit the banner to be displayed as designed, we would be happy to return our program to your schools.

Unless and until your position changes, however, we must reluctantly and immediately end the No Place for Hate® program at West Elementary and Wheatland High School.

UPDATE: Get more on the story at the excellent Wheaterville blog

ANOTHER UPDATE: Read the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle story and the very educational and entertaining comments (114 thus far) at

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