BUTTE — Some residents on Butte’s westside neighborhood got a bag with a hateful message in it, so students at West Elementary School decided to send a different message: a message of love and kindness.
“I had kids come into my classroom with bags of hate mail on their porch, and decided we want to deliver a little bit of love and kindness to as many neighbors as we could,” said 6th grade West Elementary teacher Rochelle Pesanti.
The students want to counter a racist flyer that was distributed in a bag with a rock in it by delivering bags that will have rocks and cards decorated with positive messages.
“We should give people nice messages instead of rude messages because rude messages are rude,” said student Kailey Feistner.
Students had plenty of nice messages to deliver.
“It’s says, ‘bring good vibes wherever you go,’ on the back it says, ‘there’s always a light in the darkest of places,’ on this side it says, ‘you are the sun that lights the sky,’” said student Persephone Weldon.
What do you want people in the neighborhood to know about?
“That they’re loved, that it’s okay to be yourself,” said student Hazel Dutra.
While today is all about spreading a positive message, one of the students here had a message they want to give to the person that spread that hateful message.
“Stop. You’re going to put hate and you’re going to ruin the world and all you want to do is ruin everybody’s day, so stop, don’t do it,” said student Cooper Kahtani.
Persephone has good advice for dealing with haters.
“Just throw it away, throw their hate away and be good, be a good person,” said Persephone.
Pesanti has a history of spreading positive messages. In 2019, she started an event where children held up positive signs to motorists on a Monday morning before class just to lift people’s spirits.