Spring Lake Park High School students fight hate with love

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

After a message containing two racially offensive slurs was found in a Spring Lake Park High School girls bathroom Nov. 10, students came together to show that those hateful words are not something that the student body will stand for.

Spring Lake Park High School students show that they stand together after a hateful message was found in a girls bathroom last week. Photos courtesy of Spring Lake Park Schools
Spring Lake Park High School students show that they stand together after a hateful message was found in a girls bathroom last week. Photos courtesy of Spring Lake Park Schools

Students covered the sidewalk leading up to the school with chalk messages of inclusivity and peace. Those messages greeted students as they arrived at school Friday, Nov. 11.

Students asked their peers to write messages of kindness and hung those in the cafeteria and in the school’s entryway.

More and more students joined the effort, and by lunchtime, hundreds of positive statements were on display.

“I am proud to be a Panther because I care about myself and others.”

“The strength of our school is togetherness. Nobody should ever feel unwanted or isolated ….”

“At Spring Lake Park, we are spreading peace, love and positivity.”

“Unity means American not American’t.”

“Love wins.”

Principal Jane Stevenson said she was heartbroken to learn about vandalism that “disheartened, disturbed and disenfranchised” members of the high school community.

“It’s rare that something like this happens,” she said.

But she couldn’t be more proud of how students responded.

“So many kids have stepped up to the plate,” Stevenson said. “Our students look out for one another.”

The school and the Spring Lake Park Police Department continue to investigate the incident.

If and when the individual or individuals responsible for the hateful message in the bathroom are found, a wide range of disciplinary options are on the table, Stevenson said.

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Spring Lake Park High School students took it upon themselves to respond to one racially offensive message found in a girls bathroom last week with hundreds of messages of love and support. Spring Lake Park High School students created a warm, welcoming environment by plastering kind words all over the school’s cafeteria and main entrance Nov. 11. A student hangs positive messages in the cafeteria.
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Spring Lake Park High School students took it upon themselves to respond to one racially offensive message found in a girls bathroom last week with hundreds of messages of love and support.