Letter from high school principal: ‘We must do better’
A letter to Bearcat families, students, faculty, staff, and community:
Each and every day we strive to make Paso Robles High School a safe and welcoming environment where students can prepare themselves for college, career, and community and whatever they want to pursue. The last weeks have been incredibly challenging as acts of hate and intolerance continue to occur despite the push for inclusion and acceptance. These actions pose grave dangers for the cohesion of our school, the protection of human rights, and are a violation of the education code. Our staff is working tirelessly to address these continuing issues, but today I address you with one call to action, we must do better!
Our campus again saw a hateful, intolerant, and inexcusable action when a rainbow pride mask was desecrated. The action of this student or students is unacceptable and intolerable. Individuals participating in acts of hate, like this, will face the most severe consequences available to us in the education code and will be reported to law enforcement.
Families, I implore you to have a conversation with your child about how words and actions can truly carry a lasting impact on the lives of others. Even when used jokingly or with no ill intent, slurs and pejorative terms are detrimental to the world around them. Hate Speech becomes a human rights violation if it incites discrimination, hostility, or violence towards a person or a group defined by their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or other attributes.
Our students and our community need to realize that these actions directly impact the faculty and staff’s ability to provide the safe and exemplary education we all want for our students. In order for all students to feel safe and welcome, we must embrace our differences and join together as Bearcats.
Please join me in doing better for every student on our campus. We must treat people with understanding and respect even when we disagree. We must report incidents of hate and intolerance immediately, as these incidents must stop. And remember, in a world where you can be anything, always be kind.
Paso Robles High School Principal Anthony Overton