I read the article in The Pantagraph that reported a student wouldn't be charged for drawing a swastika on U High lockers, and writing the words 'I hate minorities' in the high school boys locker room last week.
But what saddened me more was the statement by Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff, who said, "It didn't rise to the level of criminal damage. It was probably just a case of using bad judgment." Unfortunately, this was more than bad judgment but a discriminatory hate crime within 1,000 feet of an educational facility - why it was at the school and a felony act.
It said the superintendent of the school quickly identified the student and is dealing with it administratively. We can only hope that including documented discipline, educational class, counseling and community service. All students do, as she wrote, have the right to be free from harassment and discrimination based on race, color ... But know this, it was more than just a case of using bad judgment; it is a state of mind that this youth or youths acted upon.
The message that we send out dictates just how much our students truly have a right to be free of harassment and discrimination. This is totally unacceptable behavior and a swastika is a symbol of hatred and ideas of racism. But this student was not satisfied with just the symbol but wrote "I hate minorities." Pretty clear to me. You decide.
Willie Halbert, Bloomington