Reject hate; show love, respect for community

Let’s be clear, hate — in its various forms — has no place in this community and shouldn’t have in any other community, either.

Hate speech and taunting/bullying are among incidents have occurred locally recently, as well as nationally.

About a dozen students in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. have been subjected since election day to anti-immigrant taunts such as “Build That Wall” by other students. The rhetoric was used during the presidential campaign and repeated on social media regarding possible changes to the nation’s immigration policies. Such comments go against expectations by the school district for students to treat each other with respect and kindness. They also conflict with Columbus’ welcoming community practices.

Last weekend in Brown County, anti-gay and pro-Nazi graffiti was spray painted on St. David Episcopal Church, located in Bean Blossom. A swastika and the phrase “Heil Trump” — a reference to President-elect Donald Trump — were among the messages left on the church.

It’s disturbing that people would think they have license to publicly display hate toward others — especially referencing a hate group that killed millions of people during the Holocaust.

Hate needs to be rebuked with love and compassion.

In Columbus, organizers did just that in the wake of the initial Nov. 8 taunting/bullying incident.

The city’s long-standing efforts to be a welcoming community for all people was reiterated during a Nov. 11 “Stand on the Side of Love” rally. The turnout for the quickly arranged rally, held at 5 p.m., was nothing short of phenomenal. About 300 peaceful people made their feeling known during the rally, which began outside The Commons and moved down Washington Street.

BCSC Superintendent Jim Roberts spoke during the rally, and make clear the district’s expectations for student interaction.

“Some of these reactions have included remarks and behaviors that are particularly hurtful to many members of our student body and compromise our efforts to provide a welcoming and diverse learning culture of respect, fairness and trust for all,” Roberts said.

“Our school system will not tolerate actions that demonstrate a lack of understanding and respect for our differences.”

Hate has no place in the schools, the community at large or anywhere, and must be rejected by showing love and respect for people.

Columbus has made efforts to create a welcoming community over the years through various initiatives and its Human Rights Commission. Those efforts are important, and the message of what the community wants must continue.