The student news publication of Libertyville High School

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How LHS has became more accepting

Libertyville+High+School+has+created+clubs+and+support+weeks+to+create+a+more+accepting+and+safe+environment+for+students.+One+of+the+many+ways+that+LHS+does+this+is+by+being+involved+in+Yellow+Ribbon+Week.+Yellow+Ribbon+Week+is+a+week-long+event+to+bring+awareness+to+suicide+prevention.+
Libertyville High School has created clubs and support weeks to create a more accepting and safe environment for students. One of the many ways that LHS does this is by being involved in Yellow Ribbon Week. Yellow Ribbon Week is a week-long event to bring awareness to suicide prevention.

Libertyville High School has created clubs and support weeks to create a more accepting and safe environment for students. One of the many ways that LHS does this is by being involved in Yellow Ribbon Week. Yellow Ribbon Week is a week-long event to bring awareness to suicide prevention.

Ben Kanches

Ben Kanches

Libertyville High School has created clubs and support weeks to create a more accepting and safe environment for students. One of the many ways that LHS does this is by being involved in Yellow Ribbon Week. Yellow Ribbon Week is a week-long event to bring awareness to suicide prevention.

Rachel Dudley, Staff writer

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     Having an accepting school environment is vital to every school.  It allows students to feel more comfortable at school, therefore making it easier for them to focus on their education. Having that acceptance also allows students of a variety of backgrounds and orientations to develop confidence in themselves and their beliefs.

     This acceptance has been expressed at our school in the past few years through a variety of clubs and campaigns students and staff have participated in. These organizations have brought the student body together with a common sense of tolerance.

     Two years ago, the Gay/Straight Alliance at LHS started offered “safe space” stickers for teachers to display in their classrooms in order to inform members of the LGBTQ community that they are valued and respected at our school. Many students have similar “no hate” stickers on their Chromebooks to help spread this message further around the school. They reflect the welcoming atmosphere that the administration and staff has helped create for the LGBTQ community at Libertyville over the past few years.

     Earlier this year after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the school, and especially the new principal, Dr. Tom Koulentes, confronted the horrific events head on. Through his announcement on the first day of school and the “Hate Has No Home Here” sign outside of his office, Dr. Koulentes made it clear that the violent and hateful actions of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville will not be accepted at our school. Following his lead, teachers are spreading the same message by hanging the signs on the door of their classrooms.

     Nazis are bad. It’s not a political debate between the right or left, it’s a fact. By ensuring that that hatred would not be tolerated at school, we took steps towards acceptance and reminded students that all people will be respected and valued at Libertyville High School.

     The signs even go beyond the hate that was seen at Charlottesville. The multiple languages on the posters symbolize a variety of ethnicities from around the world. By being able to represent so many cultures that are celebrated within our own country and school, the signs have an even more powerful message of one united nation full of people of different backgrounds, which is the foundation of America.

     Although Libertyville is not the most diverse school or town, which makes educating students about other cultures difficult at times, it is nevertheless extremely important. Last year, students revamped LHS United, a club dedicated to celebrating diversity at our school. They have been able to bring together people of different races and ethnicities in order to learn more about each other and their cultures. By expanding teens’ knowledge about other lifestyles and values, students are able to appreciate the diversity of LHS.  

     Meanwhile, Best Buddies has been a very popular club at LHS for many years; it offers students with and without special needs the chance to spark lifelong friendships. They have kick-started the program “spread the word to end the word” at Libertyville to stop students from using the word “retarded.”

     They have worked with different organizations as well as with students to educate the student body about the hurtful connotations of the “R” word  and why it’s crucial to stop people from using it. They are showing the importance of treating everyone fairly and with respect.

     Beyond helping students of minorities feel more confident and comfortable at school, this caring environment teaches all LHS attendees the importance of acceptance. Our school is leading by example to instill tolerance in all students. We have learned to respect people’s beliefs, educate ourselves on other cultures, support all students, and most importantly, to appreciate our similarities while celebrating our differences.

     Libertyville has given all of us many amazing opportunities to improve our education, but even more than that, to improve our character. It is a school that supports all students and fights for the rights of all people in the building. We have been taught about the vitality of tolerance in all aspects of life. That is how LHS has succeeded for the past 100 years and will for the next 100.

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
How LHS has became more accepting