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Hate has no home here

By Staff | Feb 2, 2024

To the editor:

Teachers do not surrender their rights under the First Amendment at the schoolhouse door. But the flag attached to a bulletin board at Riverdale High School should not even be considered controversial. The flag in question spells out “HATE HAS NO HOME HERE” and is covered in hearts that contain the American flag, a peace symbol, the words “Black Lives Matter” and the colors of the trans and LGBTQ+ flags. Where’s the problem? Aren’t teachers supposed to discourage hate?

But, according to Michael Thompson, chairman of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee, the flag is clearly a political statement and a violation of the “Stop the Woke Act.” Thompson wants to see the flag removed. He is quoted as saying, the law “was enacted to stop the indoctrination of our children.” He claims the flag is “promoting transgender and LGBT to our students.”

Thompson is obviously using his own prejudices to create an opinion that the flag is taking a shot at him and fellow Republicans. How is an expression of empathy for groups that continuously suffer hate and violence in our country considered inappropriate? How is an expression of empathy for the bigotry directed at the gay community twisted into “promoting” homosexuality?

Lee County should be a place where hate has no home. Maybe we need more flags like the one at Riverdale High, not fewer.

Ray Clasen

North Fort Myers