personal reflections on human rights...and other stuff

Nasty Graffiti: Saved by the Plastic Chicken atop the Car

Around half of this beautiful weekend's daylight hours were spent in schools waiting for Boy 2 to swim in a competition (Saturday) and Boy 1 to do the same on Sunday. The first school was a college and today's was a high school on the south shore of the island of Montreal.
The view as you walk out the front doors of the high school.
By noon I told my wife I was stepping outside to get some fresh air. Out the doors, breathe in a good dose of non-chlorinated air, turned my head to the left and saw graffiti on the school wall that made my heart sink (see the photo). To the credit of the school administration, it looked as though they've tried to clean past markings on that wall. I guess they haven't gotten around to cleaning up this crap.

Once inside, a "Green Ribbon Charter" promoting rights in the school.
Like a similar splash of vulgar graffiti in a local park a few weeks ago, this bugged me. A few minutes after I snapped this photo I went back inside to take my seven year-old Boy 2 for a walk to a nearby park. As I walked through the doors with him I realized I had to keep his attention away from the wall. He'd seen the F-word before (inside on a bulleting board, among other places); the significance of the "Mother" coupled with the F-word would be harder to explain, and I'd just as much want to stay away from "Bitch." Fortunately, a delivery car with a large plastic chicken on its roof was speeding by on the road in front of us. The diversion came just in time. 

Inside the school, a welcome initiative: posted on the wall behind a glass case was a "Green Ribbon Charter." The Charter had 10 articles, basically saying:
  1. Respect between boys and girls
  2. Prevent against all forms of racism
  3. Take the responsibility to speak up (when witnessing violence)
  4. Have freedom of expression
  5. Have mutual respect between adolescents and youth (something that didn't click a couple of weeks ago at another school I visited)
  6. Ensure amicability between younger and older students
  7. Act against violence
  8. Respect others who are studying
  9. Include students who are having problems (by helping and encouraging them)
  10. Use courteous language
I'm thinking that whoever wrote the stuff on the wall missed out on reading this. They should take copies of this Charter and cover the whole graffitied wall with it. That's one message I don't mind spreading.




2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Does the author know that in Quebec their Charter of Human Rights and Frredoms says that a citizen's home is "inviolable"? And yet graffiti vandals have been attacking my home for years in Montreal. Time to go to the UN for help!

Paul McAdams said...

I can imagine that vandals attacking your home can be very upsetting, it's happened to me as well. I would hope that the police would try to play some active role in the community to educate citizens not do do such a thing...