Wilson is slated to become a No Place for Hate school, which comes as a part of an SGA attempt to combat hate speech at Wilson. They are also figuring out other actions such as creating posters and videos to discourage hate speech and remind students of existing Wilson policies against it.
These ideas, which are yet to be finalized, except for Wilson becoming a No Place For Hate, are the product of an SGA discussion on hate speech held on February 6th during STEP. At the meeting, students and staff discussed ideas about what Wilson should do to combat hate speech. Participants in the roughly half-hour long discussion bounced ideas off of each other to come up with the list of potential solutions to the problem of hate speech at Wilson.
Tenth-grade counselor Evan Camara, who attended the meeting, also mentioned how the counselors are working to create a survey for students in order to assess how often students experience hate speech at Wilson. “It’s hard for counselors to know how often students really come in contact with these sorts of things,” Camara said. They are creating the survey as a possible solution to this problem.
No Place for Hate is a self-directing program created by the Anti-Defamation League that aims to teach schools how to improve their school climate. Wilson will implement this program starting in the 2020-21 school year, though there is a series of steps a school must go through to become No Place For Hate-eligible, including signing a Resolution of Respect and forming a No Place For Hate committee.
The SGA discussed making a video denouncing hate speech at Wilson and celebrating Wilson’s diversity. The video would be played on the monitors in the atrium and elsewhere, or teachers would be asked to show the video. The SGA also discussed putting up posters denouncing hate speech.
Sophomore class SGA volunteer Guy Knoll believes that reminding students of the existing punishments for using hate speech is critical. “Some students at Wilson don’t get that there are consequences for their actions,” Knoll said. “The use of homophobic slurs and the use of words offensive towards kids with disabilities needs to be addressed.”