Staff Editorial: Recent hateful vandalism must not go unseen

Thespians+painted+the+senior+wall+Nov.+3+to+advertise+the+fall+musical+%229+to+5.%22+The+wall+was+repainted+Nov.+8%2C+after+offensive+slurs+vandalized+the+wall.
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Staff Editorial: Recent hateful vandalism must not go unseen

Thespians painted the senior wall Nov. 3 to advertise the fall musical

Thespians painted the senior wall Nov. 3 to advertise the fall musical "9 to 5." The wall was repainted Nov. 8, after offensive slurs vandalized the wall.

Isaac Wahl

Thespians painted the senior wall Nov. 3 to advertise the fall musical "9 to 5." The wall was repainted Nov. 8, after offensive slurs vandalized the wall.

Isaac Wahl

Isaac Wahl

Thespians painted the senior wall Nov. 3 to advertise the fall musical "9 to 5." The wall was repainted Nov. 8, after offensive slurs vandalized the wall.

St. Louis Park considers itself to be an accepting community. Yet, in the past month, there have been multiple incidents of vandalism driven by hatred at St. Louis Park High School.

On Oct. 12, discriminatory graffiti was found on a poster Non-Traditional Academy (NTA) students made with details of the candidates up for the midterm election. The poster including Ilhan Omar was found defaced with the phrases “Muslim trash” and “illegal alien.”

On Nov. 3, the thespians painted the senior wall to publicize the fall musical. The phrases “so gay” and “boo” were found spray painted on the painting Nov. 8.

According to theater director Jodi Hatzenbeller, Grade Level Coordinator Greg Whittle volunteered to paint over the graffiti on the theater painting. NTA also took down the vandalized poster and remade it, according to NTA adviser Debra Skadden. In addition to this, NTA students created several new positive posters showcasing pictures of students holding signs with messages of love and support, countering the discriminatory comments.

In both instances, the administration was aware of what had happened and participated in making sure the situation was dealt with. However, the Editorial Board feels the administration should do more to prevent derogatory vandalism from occurring again. They should also work to make students feel more comfortable reporting incidents. To do this, the administration needs to create a more trusting relationship with the student body and educate students on the process of reporting incidents.

Other steps the administration could take include starting conversations facilitated by teachers around what makes a comment hurtful. The Editorial Board also believes the administration should hang positive posters around the school focusing on complimenting others, instead of bringing them down, similar to the NTA student’s posters.

The Editorial Board recognizes that these aren’t the only hateful events the school has faced and realizes situations like these occur every day in schools all over the world. To combat this major problem, the board encourages everyone to stand up for those who you may see being verbally bullied or discriminated against and to report this to the administration immediately. These situations must not be desensitized. According to the stop bullying website, kids who have experienced any form of bullying are more susceptible to have poorer mental health than those have no experience of being bullied or discriminated against.

Additionally, the Editorial Board believes a good way to show love and support for the specific events that occurred is attending the theater program’s rendition of “9 to 5 the Musical” Nov. 16, 17 or 18 in the St. Louis Park High School auditorium. Community members can also attend the uncensored panel about race from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 at St. Louis Park High School in room C350 to show compassion towards NTA students involved in making the vandalized election poster.

Highly offensive graffiti should not be taken lightly, and the Editorial Board urges the community to be active in preventing any forms of discrimination, verbal abuse or vandalism from occurring to any individual or group of people.

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