School should be commended for stance against intolerance

Dear Editor:

After years of concern about a lack of respect for religious, gender and sexual diversity/difference in the Dolores schools, I commend the administration and staff for their stand against degrading manifestations of intolerance.

It is the combination of the huge Confederate Flag, with the large block letters spelling out, "NOBAMA," and the associations with segregation by race, along with all the atrocities committed IN THAT CONTEXT, that is offensive to those that work for equality and justice, in our country, county, town and schools. We could pretend that the residue of racism, segregation., Apartheid, religious persecution, etc. no longer exist, because laws have been passed to curb the most overt forms of these. Thoughtful people realize that significant changes in our culture, are a process, that require time, patience, and due diligence. (It took one hundred years from slavery to the Voting Rights Act of 1964.)

Free speech, as is guaranteed by the first amendment, has always been mitigated by a responsibility to the "greater good." You cannot arbitrarily yell "FIRE," in a crowded theatre, because you think it would be funny, or want to express yourself. You can't do this because it would jeopardize the safety and peace of others.

If a citizen believes that only white, Christian, Republican, heterosexuals, are superior to other human beings, that is your individual right. However, in the interests of equality within institutions such as our public schools, we need to advocate for the inclusion and humanity of all races, religions and political persuasions, or we are not serving the democracy for which they were created.

What if the sign said, "NOMcCAIN," with the flag of Vietnam accompanying it? Or "NOROMNEY," with the flag of a persecuting-to-Mormans group displayed? How about a swastika with "NOJEWS," in big black letters? What if on my truck was written, "NOJESUS," with a satanic symbol, advocating the degradation of some ideal of belief which you held dear? Would you be offended, outraged, consider these disrespectful to your presence and participation in a community?

Every child of color, and every child of Caucasian ancestry, deserves to attend our school without demeaning affronts to their dignity, history and presence. The ban upholds the assertion that incendiary and degrading symbols, language and attitudes that trivialize people, who they are and/or what they believe in, are not acceptable for the "greater good," of our school.

Ellen J. Benson