Positivity prevails: BHS Wall of Love offers Rockingham County students uplifting messages

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By Amie Knowles

February 8, 2024

What’s the message you’d like to send to a group of high school students? 

In Rockingham County, there’ve been two overarching messages sent to teenagers attending the area’s public schools over the past week. The first is, admittedly, difficult to write because the messages are hurtful. The second shows the light within a group of community members who chose to spread kindness and encouragement.  

Positivity prevails: BHS Wall of Love offers Rockingham County students uplifting messages

On Jan. 31, David Rudmin stood with a series of controversial signs on Broadway High School property. School administrators and a school resource officer asked him to leave, but he refused and was arrested for trespassing. The signs contained phrases like “Say no to pronouns,” “DNA defines gender,” messages about HIV, and more. The same individual recently held signs near Spotswood High School too, but the Daily News-Record reported he was not on school property during that incident.

Positivity prevails: BHS Wall of Love offers Rockingham County students uplifting messages

To counteract the signs Rudmin held at the high schools, a group of parents and community members came together with signs promoting positivity the following week. On Tuesday, seven people held messages like “You matter,” “You belong,” “Beep if you think BHS students rock,” and more near Broadway High School. They also had a table set up with snacks for students who walked home. Participants called the display the “BHS Wall of Love.”

Positivity prevails: BHS Wall of Love offers Rockingham County students uplifting messages

Patrick Fritz, a local parent and organizer of the event, went through the proper channels and spoke with the town manager, chief of police, and principal at the high school prior to the group’s arrival. He noted that they were “100% supportive,” as were most of the people who passed by the signs. Only one person displayed a negative reaction while driving by, shouting an expletive toward the group holding signs reading “We support you” and “You are doing great! Keep it up!”

Positivity prevails: BHS Wall of Love offers Rockingham County students uplifting messages

About the Wall of Love, Fritz said: “This isn’t a protest by any means. It’s an act of affirmation and love for our students.”

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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