The RepublicFrom: Tony McClendon, Director of multicultural diversity, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.I attended a program at Columbus Signature Academy – New Tech High School on Nov. 16. I thought this program was fantastic. A student group, under the supervision of their instructors and administrators, sponsored an interfaith discussion. The program included invited panelists, representing the religious faiths of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. This was not a religious program. There was no proselytizing. This program was an educational exercise that afforded CSA New Tech students an opportunity to ask questions about each faith in a positive learning environment. It is through education that better understanding is achieved, and programs like this one promote this assertion.In this time of hate speech, inappropriate behavior directed at certain groups of students and people, in this period of racial and religious interposition, it is refreshing and encouraging to see positive programs, like this one, take place. I was further encouraged when I saw CSA New Tech students, at the conclusion of the program, come up to the panelists, shaking the hands of each panelist and thanking the panelists for their participation. Principal Mike Reed and counselor Megan Shaff and all of the New Tech instructors involved in this program are to be praised. CSA New Tech students involved in the planning and execution of this program deserve congratulations on a job well done.These programs need to be reported to the media. Far too often, only the adverse things that happen in our schools and with our youths are the items that make the evening news. It is programs like these that demonstrate that there is a positive light shining in all of this foreboding darkness.

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