Zero tolerance for racism or bullying

Pat Eliasen

In the wake of a recent racial bullying incident, and the discovery that bullying has been an ongoing issue in I.S.D. 166 and in the community, Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen released the following statement to the public.

As a leader, a law enforcement professional, a parent, a coach and a lifelong community member of Grand Marais, it is extremely disheartening to hear of recent incidents of racism and bullying occurring in our community. The Cook County Sheriff ’s Office has zero tolerance for bullying and/or racism. I, along with our staff, believe whole-heartedly in the Sheriff ’s Office Mission and Vision statements:

Mission: To serve and provide public safety with fairness and respect. Vision Statement: Providing equal enforcement and protection of the law without prejudice or favor through excellence, professionalism, integrity and timeliness.

These are values and principles I expect from the rest of the community as well, including our young people.

Never has racism been okay, but in this day and age, there is especially no place for it in society and certainly not in our community. Cook County is better than this. Not only is racism and bullying morally wrong, but in any form, can lead to aggressive behavior, damaged self-esteem and lifelong impacts for victims, and can even be criminal when actions meet the criteria. This is a slippery slope and is bad for the entire community on many levels.

Everyone – regardless of race, gender, background, ethnicity, age – deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We have an opportunity to think about what we stand for as a community and the standards and path we set for our youth. There is enough negativity and evil in the world today, there is no place for it within Cook County. There is a place for positive role models and standing up for each other as human beings and fellow citizens. We are a unique, resilient and proud community with a diverse and welcoming reputation – supposedly America’s Coolest Small Town. Racism, bullying, biases and lack of respect for another human being is not cool, it doesn’t make you tough or better than anyone else.

As a public safety official, I am proud to serve and protect every member of this county. We are all neighbors, classmates, team members, business patrons, proud northerners and human beings. You have my commitment to fairness and respect from the Sheriff ’s Office and law enforcement, and I ask the rest of the community to have the moral courage to join me – zero tolerance for racism. Diversity in its many forms, even differing opinions, makes a community stronger; and when combined with fairness, respect and dignity we all have a brighter future.

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2017-10-07 digital edition

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