Day Without Hate was celebrated Friday in the West Plains R-7 School District with student activities at West Plains High School and included a rally at Zizzer Stadium Friday evening featuring a cookout, music and a game of musical chairs accompanied by the brief appearance of a rainbow after a rain shower.
The first Day Without Hate observance was in 2007 after a mass shooting at Virginia Tech that resulted in the deaths of 33 people, including the perpetrator. Students at Standley Lake High School in Colorado then requested the wearing of white in memory of the victims and as a show of support for school safety and intolerance of hate and violence. The event eventually grew into one observed by students nationwide, according to the official website, daywithouthate.org.
This year's West Plains Day Without Hate participants wore T-shirts sponsored by local individuals and businesses, presented the organization's goals and purpose to school board members and delivered positive messages of inclusion and support to fellow students through the day. They also sold tickets to a giveaway drawing as part of a benefit for fellow student Andrew Bradley, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Also attending the rally and celebrating Day Without Hate were high school faculty, law enforcement officers and city officials including West Plains Mayor Mike Topliff.