The Hard Truth


Sydney Ekberg, Features Editor

The No Place for Hate club was created after a collection of teachers saw the continuation of discriminatory acts being done in our community and wanted to put an end to it. And we give thanks to the staff and the community who have helped support this club, the driving force behind the club’s speed and its growth to its school-wide depth. But, it became clear that not everyone was as supportive as they would have hoped. 

“Our job is to educate children. As teachers, our subject area is only the medium through which we do that. Our education and our leadership in the classroom cannot be limited to just what’s on a test, to what’s on the state’s standards…And if we as teachers, as the adults in the room, don’t lead that discussion then who will?” said Cowles. 

Sitting down with Kristin Cowles, a US history teacher here at LBHS, was more enlightening than one could ever imagine. Only expecting a few quotes about the lack of support for her club, No Place for Hate, I walked out of that room with emotions running high and a new perspective of not only her but how difficult it can be to try a make a change in a community that’s not as ready as we had thought it was. 

“I have a really hard time, having seen this now for a couple of years…and with teachers that I deeply respect…to have them not do something that is so important to me feels like a slap in the face,” said Cowles. 

Now, this club goes deeper than just three school-wide events every year done to promote unity. Cowles has poured her free time and energy into not only creating the events herself but also advocating for a more involved environment outside of these scheduled events. And even though she has her own life with its own problems, on top of the countless amounts of tests and papers she grades as an AP teacher, Cowles still found time to put effort into this club and tried for years to rally together the staff members and the student body. Sadly, Cowles’s enthusiasm and countless hours of effort have not been reciprocated.

“When I hear back from students that I’ve put time into this project and then that teachers are choosing not to do it, it’s incredibly demoralizing…that fight shouldn’t have to be a fight. I’m tired of fighting.” 

Cowles’s passion for this club is a unique one stemming from her own personal interactions and from her experiences not only as a human but as a mother. Tied together with being a history teacher who goes into depth America’s racist past and her years of watching students do things out of ignorance and sometimes blind hatred, she seems to be the perfect candidate to run such a club. However, she didn’t ask for the nomination for such a powerful position and feels that it shouldn’t be just her. 

“I’m tired of standing up at a staff meeting and having eyes roll and it’s ‘ugh, this is just a No Place for Hate thing.’ No, it’s a staff thing, it’s a community thing, it’s a us-a-schoolbody thing. I’m the No Place for Hate teacher, we should all be.” 

Cowles’s club aims to bring awareness and have an open discussion with those around us about problems that plague not only our town but our entire nation. From nazi sympathy in Newport to racist football games in Aliso, these acts of discrimination date back years and years into our county’s history and they continue to happen with not enough effort being put into ending such hate crimes. 

“In an era where we have things happening in Newport and we have things happening at Aliso, and Orange Country has a history of being a very racist place, we have a responsibility to do what we can and to educate and to stop those kinds of things in those tracks if we want to be different and to not end up in the news,” says Cowles.