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From Jokes to Mass Genocide

Steven Mott, a speaker, visited Duxbury High School during past two weeks to give a lecture on discrimination, the bystander effect, and much more tying into the recent Swastika situations in the Duxbury High School. Mott, from Lowell Massachusetts, held multiple assembles for 9th and 10th grade DHS history classes talking to them about his own experiences with racism and the bystander effect.

Mott told students about how his fraternity in college had a “White-Christian Only” rule, which he and some of his friends got abolished. Mott also told a story about how he went into a bar and heard an extremely racist song a week after Martin Luther King was assassinated.

But before all of that Mott told jokes.

These jokes were mildly offensive to some groups of people showing how it’s easy to laugh at a group that you do not belong to.

“What we didn’t want to do was to have someone come in and yell at the kids.” Said James Donovan, Interim Principal of DHS.

Mr. Donovan has spoken with the students about the Swastikas multiple times trying to get the point across that this is not a joke, it is a sign of hate.

Mr.Donovan also said that,“We wanted the students to realize these are student on student incidents from within the walls of the school and it’s not someone from outside the community coming in and doing this.”

Mott was recommended to DHS by a principal in the community. He had hired Mott to address a situation similar to the one in DHS.

Mott’s presentation tied in nicely with the 9th and 10th grade curriculum. History classes are learning about topics from slavery to the Holocaust. The 9th and 10th grade classes were the only ones to receive the Mott presentation. Student feedback which was received from in class conversations have been mixed.

Sarah McGuire, the assistant principal of DHS, said that “Most of the feedback was around the idea that they didn’t want to be a bystander. If they heard something or saw something that they knew was wrong it wasn’t enough just to say ‘I wouldn’t do those things’ but to actually say something if they saw someone doing one of those things.”

Will T. said, “I don’t agree with all of the points made in the presentation [particularly about the jokes], but it is nice to see a different point of view.”

Steven Mott provided a unique way to educate the 9th and 10th graders of DHS on the escalation from jokes to mass genocide and that the worst thing that a student could be in the recent Swastika Situations in DHS, is a bystander.

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