Students participate in state's first-ever Day of Welcome

Published: Oct. 25, 2019 at 1:24 PM EDT
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That's members of the John Bapst Memorial High School's Civil Rights team trying to help their classmates feel welcome at their school.

"Seeing them smile makes me smile, makes me have a great day and then it's just positivity all around."

The students are participating in the first-ever Day of Welcome in the state.

"A lot of people don't feel welcome at other places whether it is because of what they look like or their skin or gender or sexuality and I think that's really important that we let people know that no matter what they are welcome here and that everybody is loved and that they have a safe place to be."

This day is sponsored by the Maine Office of the Attorney General through the Civil Rights Team Project.

Nearly 200 schools are taking part.

"It should go without saying that everybody should be nice to each other and just to smile at people in the hallway."

The students at John Bapst also made a banner that was hung for everyone to see.

"It's important for us to have a statement right as people are walking in that everybody is welcome at John Bapst in the same way I think it would be important at any school for there to be an open explicit statement that people are welcome at that school."

"The students say they wanted to put a banner up for years and today, while it is finally up, it's a great feeling."

"Those things that we wrote up there like religion, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, are a lot of things that have not been accepted or been belittled in the past and they need to feel like they're on the same level as everyone else."

"We want you to feel free to express yourself and your individuality and diversity and I think that's what really John Bapst is about and our Civil Rights team is about."

The students also passed out words of encouragement to help welcome people.

"It just feels really great to know that I may have impacted those people's days in a positive way especially if they're dealing with something that's not so positive."

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