MCPS combats hate with new contest


Sam Falb, Online News Editor

Fighting hate through the arts is the latest goal on Montgomery County’s agenda, and with the announcement of the United We Learn contest on March 14, an outlet for students to voice their concerns and ideas on the topic was born. Using various art forms, students can create projects showcasing diversity and togetherness, as well as displaying problems they see in the community.
“Combating the elevated levels of divisiveness, prejudice, bias and hate that have emerged in our county and country is the responsibility of every community member, including students,” the MCPS statement on the contest reads.
MCPS students in elementary, middle, and high school are encouraged to participate in groups of two or more, and are requested to incorporate the MCPS core values of learning, relationships, respect, excellence and equity.
This action is not the first step the county has taken in creating a more positive, accepting environment. The new contest follows a series of short videos shared with MCPS students via morning announcements late last year, with host Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith enforcing the MCPS core values, as well as reminding students to treat others with respect and dignity at all times.
“[We do] not approve or tolerate hate speech or hate-based behaviors. Respect and tolerance are the basis of who we are as school system, as a community, and as a nation.” Smith said during a November clip.
Submissions can be written, performed, placed on a poster, or created through a multimedia component such as Powerpoint or iMovie. Submissions will be taken until April 21 and winners will be announced on May 22. Contest winners will have their works published, printed, or broadcasted through MCPS’s various media platforms, as well as receive a currently unannounced prize.