San Dieguito Academy students work toward ‘No Place for Hate’ status

Students made a mural out of notecards that students used to write things they can do to make SDA a better place.
(Gianna Brook, SDA student and school vice president)

Following incidents involving hateful graffiti messages and vandalism at San Dieguito Academy, students are working to get a No Place for Hate designation for the school.

“Bullying or racism and homophobia happens to students at every school on a daily basis,” said Joy Ruppert, 17, a junior at San Dieguito Academy. “Pursuing this No Place for Hate and just making sure we’re working with other students from not only our school but other school districts, just making our school a better place was the goal that got us pursuing this in the first place.”

No Place for Hate is a program by the Anti-Defamation League that helps students confront bias, bullying and related issues on their campuses.

Last November, someone graffitied the n-word at the school. A few months later, racist and homophobic slurs were spray-painted on the administration building at the Santa Fe Drive campus.

“These were pretty terrible and hateful acts intended to create a tear in the fabric of the inclusivity at SDA,” said Halle Devine, 17, a junior at San Dieguito Academy. “SDA is known as a very inclusive school and we want to keep it that way.”

More than 1,800 other schools have achieved the No Place for Hate designation, according to its website.

Becoming a No Place for Hate School requires a process that takes several months, including a project by the student body. At San Dieguito Academy, students each wrote something on notecard-sized pieces of paper of all different colors about what they can do to make San Dieguito Academy a better place. They all signed them and turned them in before they were used to make a mural.

“It showed the unity of all the kids coming together to support SDA becoming a No Place for Hate School,” Halle said.

She added that the notecards were a “colorful addition to our main campus.”