Julian Gajewski – The words of the young adults at Stroudsburg High. Are the student’s words not enough?
Written by Julian Gajewski
My name is Julian Gajewski and I am a Sophomore and have been going to SASD since Kindergarten. I am honestly very proud of my hometown and have always loved Stroudsburg and its school district due to the wonderful experiences I’ve had in years past. However, my friends have always told me about how much they want to leave this town, always quoting how much they hate the school. And whenever I was to ask why the majority of the time people tell me due to the amount of intolerance this district has. Ever since I have been in both Middle and Junior High School, I have seen the phrase “Hate Has No Home Here” put on entrances, classroom doors, and in the halls. When I first saw this, I was so proud of this district and specifically this school. I really thought that within my first year of High School within this building, things would be different and more mature than the younger classes. I, personally, have only been within this building for almost 3 weeks now, and I have been so disappointed about how much this phrase is not being shown. I have been told stories about the past of how hateful comments have been spread and have been tolerated, as you have heard from my peer Venus. I have been told which teachers are safe to tell about students’ LGBTQ+ traits (such as names), and really felt the phrase “Hate Has No Home Here” to be more of an afterthought. Now, hearing the news that the School Board had disbanded the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee on a district level was absolutely shocking to me. I didn’t expect anything like that to come from this school, let alone a group of adults, to do such a thing. It’s almost as if the whole phrase of “Hate Has No Home Here” has no meaning within these walls. While I am so glad to see that our staff are so enthusiastic about these stickers being enough to prevent discrimination within this school, thus nulling any need for the DEI committee to be needed, this simply is not the case. As I said earlier, I and my class have been within this building for only a total of 3 weeks and we already have heard so many hateful comments come out of other students’ mouths recently. So, let me show you our school’s motto of “Hate Has No Home Here” in a full showcase of listing a few instances of discrimination my class has experienced over the past few weeks:
- One Student being called the f slur directly for being openly gay and then being told “If I had a gay son I would kick him out of my house”.
- One Student being asked if they were trans by someone calling them the t slur, which you may guess that is a hateful term against transgender folk.
- Another student being invalidated by other students for their gender, being told that “they will always be a girl”, deadnamed, called an “attack helicopter” and called them an “it”.
- I personally heard someone drop the f slur casually THIS VERY MORNING within one of my classes without any sort of repercussion.
- And, many hearing the n-word being dropped casually here and there, which I know that Mr. Sodl is not fond of the word being used as I was told by him at the beginning of Marching Band starting last year.
Having these experiences within the first three weeks of school is what made me especially shocked that the DEI committee was disbanded, stopping any sort of behavior like this to be prevented and the phrase “Hate Has No Home Here” to be considered null. We, as a student body, ask for you to reverse such a decision to help prevent any sort of hate speech to be experienced by your students, and for you to fully embrace the phrase “Hate Has No Home Here”. Thank you.