Hate has no place in Dartmouth High School

May 15, 2023

Coloring a poster, learning words through rubber ducks and signing a pledge to stop hate were among the activities aimed at increasing awareness and acceptance on May 5 at Dartmouth High School. 

Day of No Hate was a first-of-its-kind event held at the high school. It offered a slew of activities that got students thinking about ending hate in their community.  

It was hosted by the Black Student Union, a student-run club that welcomes all students to learn about and share the experiences of minority students. 

In its first year the club has already gained about 70 members who worked together to plan the Day of No Hate, said Kristianna Fontes Callahan, co-advisor of the club and a social worker at the school.

The union partnered with other clubs to offer activities that reinforce their mission of reducing hate and raising awareness. 

The event featured a paint-by-number mural designed by art teacher Julia Dickinson, created by the art club and colored in at the event by students.Two members of the Fishing Club created a booth called “We All School Together” which had paper fish for students to write messages of kindness on or share what they commit to doing to make Dartmouth High School hate free.  

One table had a “random acts of kindness wheel” which assigned participants a random act of kindness to complete. In some cases, they received kindness themself in the form of a $5 Dunkin Donut gift card courtesy of the Rotary Club.

There was also a “duck pond game," which had students picking a random rubber duck which had a vocabulary word relating to diversity, equity and inclusion written on it. Students then learned about the word’s meaning and its application within the school. 

Callahan attributes realistic expectations for the event to its success.  

“For the [attendees], our goal for them was to walk away with one new word. We are not here to educate completely, but it’s baby steps,” she said.  

Students appreciated the opportunity to learn without judgment. 

Some staff members commented to Callahan after the event that the students “spoke with such grace and kindness, and they were teaching something, there was no judgment.”

Callahan explained that hate and discrimination are statistically proven by the Department of Justice to be increasing and it can be seen in Dartmouth, she cited the recent hate crime at the Burgo Basketball Facility.

With this in mind, the club asked fellow students to sign a pledge to reinforce their individual role in creating a community that is inclusive, kind and free of hate. 

“Students and staff set the culture of the building and if we can all agree that we are not going to accept hate or discrimination in this building collectively, we can all agree that it is all of our responsibilities,” said Callahan. 

The issue of diversity, equity and inclusion has been said to be an area needing improvement within Dartmouth Public Schools, making events like the Day of No Hate increasingly relevant. 

The event was sponsored by a Community Funding Grant issued through the Bristol County District Attorney's office, the Rotary Club, fundraising sponsored by the school's faculty staff and contributions from DHS administration.