NPHS makes strides to combat racism and hate speech


Micah Anderson, Editor

In light of allegations of racist behavior from New Prague High School students at winter sporting events, the administration has launched a series of programs to combat racism in our schools and the community.

After the incidents, the administration, counselors, and the school social worker held listening sessions with current students to hear their stories and concerns. From those listening sessions, a group called Student Voices formed.  Student Voices has met regularly this spring to work to make change in the school.  They have had many discussions about how to make the school more inclusive, created posters to hang around the building and many of them participated in an upstander training. Upstanders are people who step in when someone else is being bullied or attacked. The counseling office plans to offer similar training next year for different groups in the school.

BRIDGE Club is sponsoring a project called A Seat at the Table. A Seat at the Table was inspired by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives. She famously stated, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.” Members of BRIDGE Club and other interested students decorated chairs to represent themselves. They were displayed at the high school and will be on display at various elementary schools to show diverse backgrounds represent different identities. 

Mrs. Sayler combats racism in her classroom by introducing students to the organization Stronger Than Hate. The goal of Stronger Than Hate is to build empathy in students by exposing them to the testimonies of others. Students watch the testimonies of past genocide survivors and discuss how they can stand up to hate in their own lives. 

The administration is in the process of developing a “student voices” video as well. It will feature a variety of students who have directly experienced or witnessed hate speech or slurs in our school. The video will be used next fall to help define hate speech and demonstrate the harm it causes.

Although racist behavior still occurs at New Prague High School, administration, staff and students are working on many different fronts to fight against it to create a culture of inclusivity and acceptance for all.