Guest Commentary: A Teachable Moment

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nooseBy Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

A noose was found hanging from the goal post at Davis High School and some people say it was a prank. This is the same high school where, nearly 30 years ago, Thong Hy Huynh was stabbed to death in a hateful, race-related act and where hateful messages have been spray-painted on the walls at various times over the years.

Again, some say it was a prank or kids simply being insensitive.

My husband David and I have three beautiful children; we just adopted a beautiful baby girl last year and are the guardians of two boys of mixed race. They have friends of various ethnicities and race and have not had to deal with hate in their young lives.

Someday, they will attend Davis High School, which is a school that has caring teachers, a good principal and parents who are involved and care about their children receiving a good education. They may have to deal with this kind of hate in the future. I hope not.

What will I tell them? As a mom, I will tell our kids to feel empathy for the person who feels so inclined to tie a noose to a goal post at Davis High School, whether it was to cause fear or as a prank. I will tell them that we do not respond to hate and fear with more hate and fear, that we instead respond with empathy, because we should show compassion for a person who was taught or learned that this type of hate or prank is OK.

I will tell them that we should show compassion, because to carry around the burden of so much hate or disdain for people because of their real or perceived ethnicity or race must mean that life for them is a challenge on a daily basis.

If we approach the act with empathy, it helps us to spread love, compassion and understanding instead of hate. Then and only then can we begin to heal in our community and have discussions about why this type of act – which seems like a simple prank to some – is a symbol of hate that causes fear and concern in our community.

We can begin to have discussions about the noose being a symbol of a time in history when people were hanged and hated because of their race and how we as a country will not go there again, and how we as a community do not welcome that hate.

We can use this as an opportunity to teach our kids that, unlike the past, we now respect our differences with love and understanding instead of hate and fear. We can teach our kids that love and understanding far outweigh hate and that we are better because of it and their future is better because of it.

Thank you, Mayor Joe Krovoza, Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson, Davis Board of Education President Susan Lovenburg and Superintendent Winfred Roberson for your rapid response to the incident by letting the community know that you “deplore such acts of hate and ignorance.”

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4 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: A Teachable Moment”

  1. JustSaying

    Thank you for this thoughtful, insightful view of how we can consider this incident and find ways to learn from it and improve our community. Excellent thoughts during this difficult time, regardless of how and why this symbol turned up at the high school.

  2. E Roberts Musser

    Nicely done, Cecelia.

    [quote]Again, some say it was a prank or kids simply being insensitive.[/quote]

    And that may very well be the case. We just don’t know. Whoever it was, the point has to be gotten across to HIM/HER that this sort of behavior is unacceptable and why.

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