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Students and staff rally around a new positive culture

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Students and staff rally around a new positive culture

Cowles introduces the No Place For Hate student representatives to the goals of the program during the club’s first meeting on Monday October 1. Cowels has worked hard to help make LBHS a No Place For Hate School.

Cowles introduces the No Place For Hate student representatives to the goals of the program during the club’s first meeting on Monday October 1. Cowels has worked hard to help make LBHS a No Place For Hate School.

Cowles introduces the No Place For Hate student representatives to the goals of the program during the club’s first meeting on Monday October 1. Cowels has worked hard to help make LBHS a No Place For Hate School.

Cowles introduces the No Place For Hate student representatives to the goals of the program during the club’s first meeting on Monday October 1. Cowels has worked hard to help make LBHS a No Place For Hate School.

Will Clark, Editor-in-chief/ Managing Editor

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On Monday, Sept. 10, LBHS students signed the No Place for Hate pledge. This pledge signifies that our school values equality and safety and will work against bullying and discrimination of all types. Thanks to the hard work of LBHS staff members Kristin Cowles and Dawn Hunnicutt, our school received its No Place for Hate accreditation during a board meeting before the beginning of the school year.

Two years ago, discussions between teachers and administration began about racism and discrimination and prejudice,” said Cowles. “No Place for Hate was a way to deal with problems regarding racism that was systemic and preventative rather than reactionary.”

No Place for Hate focuses on shifting our school culture to one of greater understanding and acceptance of all kinds of people. In the past, our school has struggled at times with issues of race, particularly in our athletic programs.

“At times chanting from the stands, that I do not believe was racially motivated, has come off as such. So, we have had a lot of training with our students on how to be respectful fans,” said athletic director Lance Neal.

Neal compared our school environment to a team— we must practice the way we interact with people just as an athletic team practices their sport every day. This practice will eventually lead to a more socially aware student body.

“In schools today, we get so caught up in grade point averages and test scores that we forget to work on the human piece enough, so the fact that we now have that embedded in our school is a step in the right direction,” said Neal.

Given the opportunity and the structure to improve as a school will hopefully allow for further growth in the future. Attending a No Place for Hate school, the student body will sign the pledge every year; in addition, the school will hold several activities regarding anti-bullying throughout the year. The goal of these activities is to create an environment in which every student feels secure.

“I feel very safe in our school, and I truly believe everyone at this school is lucky to attend a school that values equality so highly,” said senior Dylan Brashier regarding the pledge.

Cowles believes that, as a school, we can most easily improve our culture by simply being conscientious of what we say and how we joke.

In discussing the importance of minding our words, Cowles refers to the comedic methods of punching-up and punching-down. Punching-up refers to people in a position of less power taking verbal jabs at those in power, while punching-down refers to those groups in power joking or demeaning those groups that have less power. Punching-down most often targets minority groups, and as a result, perpetuates historic prejudice and racism.

“The biggest place for improvement is what we consider jokes. Paying attention to the impact our words have, especially when we’re joking, is extremely important,” said Cowles.

As for the future, Cowles has the utmost confidence in the LBHS community’s ability to continue to grow.

“My colleagues are some of the best people I have had the pleasure of knowing. These people want to help kids. I am supremely confident in the willingness and energetic nature of the other staff here in their efforts to help change our school for the better,” said Cowles.

Cowles holds high expectations as to what our school can become under this new culture.

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Students and staff rally around a new positive culture