Embracing Our Differences | Not in Our Town

Embracing Our Differences

All students at South Ocean Middle School in Patchogue, N.Y. gathered to remember Marcelo Lucero and hear a message from his brother Joselo Lucero urging them to resist hate. Prinicpal Linda Pickford opened the program and welcomed Joselo Lucero, Mayor Paul Pontieri, and Michael Locantore, the new Superintendent of Patchogue-Medford School District. After the assembly, students gathered in front of the school to view a new exhibit of "Embracing Our Differences" banners.  
In the aftermath of a hate crime, how do teachers open a conversation with their students about hate and intolerance? After seven high schoolstudents assaulted and killed Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, NY, local educators were shocked that this could happen intheir town. At South Ocean Middle School, Principal Linda Pickford wantedto create a safe environment where her students could express theirfeelings about the tragedy, and share their ideas about diversity,immigration, inclusion and respect.  When Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri suggested that Principal Pickfordhost an art exhibit called “Embracing Our Differences,” she agreed thatart was a great medium to explore these important issues, and shemounted the collection of banners on the front lawn of her school.