Pride and Positivity Assembly protests lead to discussion
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On Tuesday, November 22, RBHS held its first Pride and Positivity Day assembly. During the assembly, students who were upset by racist graffiti which was allegedly found in a student bathroom in the school staged a small protest by holding up signs and standing to show administration, staff, and students that discrimination is not acceptable at RB.
Some of the protesting students were initially escorted out of the assembly and asked to participate in a brief discussion with school administration in order to address their concerns. After the assembly, the protesting students, administrators Dave Mannon and Kylie Gregor, as well as a handful of teachers engaged with one another about the protester’s concerns.
The protesters felt that the administration reacted inadequately to the incident in the restroom with the racist graffiti and hoped to express those concerns.
“We moved to the Little Theater along with some other staff members and talked about the purpose of the protest, which was to stand up against discrimination at RB and to talk about how the ineffective treatment of the situation by the administration was making it worse,” junior Casey Whisler said.
The discussion in the Little Theater, according to the protesters, helped to begin the healing process.
“It took us a while to find common ground but we eventually decided that we all were working towards a common goal and the only way to achieve it was together,” Whisler said.
To date, including the events of Pride and Positivity Day, there have been three collaborative and open discussions lead by faculty and students on working to increase acceptance and awareness within the building. The participating students worked hard to build support before the protest.
“We reached out to a lot of different friend groups and different parts of the community [about participating in the protest] and everybody was really excited because we all kind of have the same goal even though we didn’t realize we did,” said junior Emmett Brundage.
The students identified the movement by creating a hashtag — #StandUpRB — on social media. The purpose of #StandUpRB was to show the school that RB wants to encourage and work with communities who are being discriminated against.
Originally, the students involved in #StandUpRB felt that there was a lack of unity. However, many feel that an understanding has been reached through presenting specific ideas like assemblies or leadership conferences and creating an open platform to create a school-wide emphasis on diminishing neutrality regarding racism or intolerance in the building.
“As of now we are relatively on the same page with the administration. We are working towards a common goal of encouraging acceptance and fighting discrimination and we hope to keep working in this progressive direction,” Whisler said.
Many students who attended the assembly but were unaware of the planned protests were shocked though pleasantly surprised.
“I thought it was cool because people are expressing themselves at such an early age,” freshman Daniel Sessler said.
After the assembly and the protests, administration and students felt that the spirit of Pride and Positivity Day was honored; however, both are looking forward to creating awareness every day at RB.
“I am pleased with the outcome of this movement and I truly believe that we are making a difference. I also believe this is a cause that I will never stop standing for. Although we are taking steps in the right direction, we still have to keep working towards our goal,” Whisler said.