On Jan. 14, Monticello High School’s (MHS) No Place for Hate (NPFH) committee, comprised of students, staff and community members, met for the first time, marking another benchmark in the journey to officially becoming “No Place for Hate.”
No Place for Hate (NPFH) is a designation from The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that schools may earn after utilizing the NPFH’s research-based framework to enhance students’ understanding of diversity, bias and social justice through a series of active learning projects. Because the NPFH initiative is a framework rather than a prescribed curriculum, each district has the opportunity to create a plan of action based upon their own unique needs and challenges.
“Our mission here at MHS is to inspire, equip and empower our students,” Mr. Wilder said. “When students feel acknowledged and empowered, they begin to build that strong internal compass that one needs to do great things, in and out of school. It makes them stronger to meet adversity. It’s a sense of love we have forothers – and a lot of our kids need love.”
At the initial meeting, the NPFH committee began the process of articulating a mission statement, after a discussion centered on the results of an ADL-recommended survey that high school staff and students had the opportunity to participate in prior to the meeting. The survey gauged respondents’ perception of the high school’s current culture and climate, and the committee used this feedback to identify solutions to address existing challenges.
“We like that it’s a student-driven program,” MHS Principal Stephen Wilder said. “We have a good cross-section of students on this committee who really represent this school – they range from being your typical high school student, to outspoken leaders to students struggling with social dynamics. As an administration, we have intentionally not pre-determined what it is this program will look like here at MHS. Part of a good collaboration between students and adults is adults not having a pre-belief of what needs to happen.”
Senior student, MHS Security Intern, 2019 Class President and NPFH Committee Member Tylan Williams believes the initiative is an important one.
“If someone is acting as a bully, you need to find out what the root cause of that is if you want to change it,” he said. “At this school, many students stay within the groups that they already know, but if they got to know each other outside of those groups, no one would feel left out. Sometimes it’s just as simple as talking to someone you don’t know and asking how their day is going. NPFH opens a door for that, and that’s why I’m here.”
“Authentic change can not happen unless we have the support of our families and community, which is why it was exciting to see such an outpouring of interest from our public in joining us in this journey,” Superintendent of Schools Tammy Mangus said. “In the interest of keeping this process student-led, as required by the NPFH guidance, we couldn’t offer all interested parties a seat on the committee, but with community support being so integral to this mission, we are opening up new avenues so that our public can join us on this journey.”
The public is invited to join the NPFH advisory council. Meetings will be held on Monday, Feb. 25 and Monday, April 1 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the high school. Attendees will receive updates on the progress of the NPFH committee and will have the opportunity to share feedback and insight. Attendees must RSVP with 48 hours notice to Jackie Beamer at JBeamer@k12mcsd.net