It is hard to imagine a better place for a rainbow crosswalk than leading up to the entrance doors of a high school.
Rainbow crosswalks or better, crossings, became all the rage last year in North America. Vancouver has a permanent one, Summerland and Kelowna too, and Penticton has discussed it. They’re meant to demonstrate inclusiveness, and acceptance, particularly in regard to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer) community.
Now, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, where 49 people were killed at a LGBTQ-friendly nightclub, a group of students from Penticton Secondary School asked the school board for permission to paint the crossings leading from the school parking lot to its doors.
The Orlando shooting may have triggered their proposal, but the students wanted to send a message, according to their teacher Lesley Lacroix, a message that this kind of hate isn’t acceptable at their school.
This is far better than painting a random crosswalk in town in rainbow hues which, positive though it may be, is a general statement. What the students are creating is a daily reminder and lesson.
We’re not pretending that simply painting the school crosswalks is suddenly going to put a stop to all the bullies, cliques, insults and other forms of intolerance that go on behind those school doors. But it is a start to getting people thinking about the problems — not just students, but teachers, administrators, parents — all the adults in their lives.
A bully, no matter who their target is, doesn’t act alone. They are aided and abetted by those around them, both those who laugh at their actions, and those who take no action.
So while it’s not a solution, maybe the constant reminder of a rainbow crosswalk will prompt someone to stand up and say ‘that’s not right-we believe in accepting people as they are.”
Now that would be a statement, and a valuable lesson learned for a lifetime.