Parents upset by essay contest concerning hate speech

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Members of Kalkaska For Peace, a local advocacy group, thought they’d offer local students a chance to work on their critical-thinking skills and a chance to win $100 in the process. But, some parents of Kalkaska High School and Kalkaska Middle School claim the group is trying to inject politics where it doesn’t belong.

Kalkaska For Peace, a group that formed late this summer as a reaction to allegedly racist and anti-Islamic posts by Kalkaska Village President Jeff Sieting on his personal Facebook page, reached out and offered the essay contest to local students, with a chance for five participants to walk away with a $100 prize.

The contest posed three different essay questions regarding hate speech, including whether the author thought hate speech was a problem, or if it should be protected by the First Amendment and over the definition of hate speech.

“All essays should specifically address the question they have selected and clearly state the student’s position on the topic,” the contest rules stated. “Students should include their feelings, thoughts and experiences pertaining to hate speech in their essay and provide a persuasive point of view about the topic.”

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