A group of high school students in Massachusetts is answering hate with love after they discovered a symbol of support for the LGBTQ community was vandalized after National Coming Out Day.
A rock in front of Andover High School was painted in support of the LGBTQ community ahead of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, which is a day to celebrate and promote inclusion and acceptance.
On Saturday morning, hateful messages were discovered on the rainbow rock, prompting the school's facilities department to paint over the vandalism. Later that day, the high school's Gender Sexuality Alliance, along with members of the community, came together to restore the rock to once again be a symbol of acceptance.
"I was pretty distraught seeing the pictures and the videos," one student said. "It's just really upsetting to see people being intolerant towards your friends and how they live."
When word of the vandalism spread, there was a call to action to "erase the hate."
"It was pretty amazing to see like everyone coming together," another student shared.
"It was empowering!" the first student added.
"Because it shouldn't be about the hate that people say it should be about how people respond to it and act on it," a third student commented.
As the rock was restored, so, too, was their faith in a way.
"No matter what, we are gonna try for acceptance of everyone, no matter who they are, their background, and that hate doesn't win. Love will always beat hate," the first student said.
Andover teachers will be wearing rainbow pins when classes resume Monday morning in another show of support.
School officials have not said if there are any suspects in the incident.
An investigation into the vandalism is ongoing.