I am a strong believer in our commitment to diversity at Rangeview. We have been a No Place For Hate designated school by the ADL for many years. One of our added pieces is the Diversity Week we have every year. It is a week with games, food, panel discussions, and other activities. One of the important parts is the display of flags that adorns our main hallway as you come into the building. A few years ago I saw a slight departure from the no place for hate. It was reduced to a little friendly hate between friends. There are things that only our friends can say to us. This was one of those cases. I was walking in the main hallway behind these two girls and I overheard this exchange:
Look at the flags?
Yeah, there is the flag from my people.
They better have my flag!
(After a pause) I didn’t know stupid had a flag!
I tried my best not to laugh but I couldn’t help myself. The second girl started laughing so I knew it was between friends. I know this might have been a little inappropriate but it was too funny. It did make me think of the challenge we sometimes have between monitoring speech in the building and mean-spirited language. It also begs the question of what is it that may cross the line. I grew up without a lot of resources and moved frequently as a kid. I know I made self-deprecating comments as a way to fit in. It has also become a part of my repertoire of teaching and conducting training. I am still a believer that interactions of friends can and should be under their control. I did run into the girl separately later and asked her if she found her flag. She said she did find the flag of her people but she told me she was still looking for the flag for stupid!