Student behind Forest Grove banner issues apology letter - KPTV - FOX 12

Student behind Forest Grove banner issues apology letter

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FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) -

One of the students who hung a make-shift banner reading “Build A Wall” in Forest Grove High School earlier this week has issued an apology letter to the school and the students.

The student’s name is still being withheld by school administrators, but that have acknowledged that they have seen the letter and confirmed that it is from a student involved in the incident.

In the letter, the student said that they did not “actually believe that a wall needs to be built along our border.” The student said that the goal was to do something provocative in protest to what the student called “restrictions on freedom of speech.”

The student apologized to anyone hurt by the act, adding that while they believe in freedom of speech and that his action may be legal it was not necessarily right.

Dear Forest Grove and Cornelius Community,

On May 18th, I hung a banner in Forest Grove High School that said, “Build a Wall.” I don’t actually believe that a wall needs to be built along our border. I wanted to do something provocative to protest what I see as restrictions on freedom of speech. I was feeling like people weren’t open to discuss  sensitive issues, because no matter what is said, no matter what words I used, someone says, “That’s offensive!” I was angry, and I thought this would be a great way to express my belief in freedom of speech.

But I now understand that I chose a really bad place and way of expressing my belief on free speech. In trying to be noticeable, I used a message that held a strong, threatening connotation. I did not see that it was as strong or as negative as it was – but now I do. I understand now why it is being called racist and that I’ve made some students feel they and their families are not wanted at Forest Grove High School. That was never my intention.

I am truly sorry for anyone that I have hurt. Because my words did hurt – I understand that now. I will think more carefully in the future about my words and my actions. I still passionately believe in freedom of speech, but I also understand that just because it’s legal to do something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.

I will work to learn about other cultures and how different people perceive different messages. I am going to learn much more about the issues of immigrants in the USA, especially Forest Grove, and learn about why they have come, what their life is like, the challenges they face and how they improve this community.

I may be present at the walkout that I have heard is happening later today. I may not. I haven’t decided yet. I haven’t decided yet what’s best for the school, and what I should do regarding my participation. And to anyone that would like to have a formal and sincere conversation accompanied by a verbal apology I would like to make myself available.

I would sincerely ask that people not threaten violence, or engage in violence, over this incident. As students yelled and drove by my home today, I was scared not for myself, but for my family. I love my family very much – a family I have disappointed and that did not raise me this way – and I want them to be safe.

The statement was released on a blog ran by Jayne Cravens, who said the letter was written entirely by the student.

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