Peter Yarrow, one of the lead singers of the iconic band Peter, Paul and Mary, is scheduled to be honored next month by his alma mater, LaGuardia High School, for his contributions to “Peace, Love and the Power of Song”.

The singer, who wrote such classics as “Puff the Magic Dragon” in the sixties, went on to become a political activist, opposing the war in Vietnam and in 2000, co-founding Operation Respect, an organization that brings programs of tolerance and respect to diversity in schools and camps.

In 1970, Yarrow served three months in prison for taking “improper liberties” with a 14 year old girl. This offense has caused uproar amongst some parents and students at LaGuardia, who are outraged that a sex offender will be present at the school, let alone be honored.

The controversy prompts the question; are any offenses unforgivable?

Convicted felon rapper 50 Cent, who used to deal drugs in school and was even arrested for bringing a firearm to class, last October produced a television series called “Dream School” which focused on changing the lives of teenagers facing challenges.  Apparently, he’s been forgiven.

Peter Yarrow committed his offense over four decades ago. Since that time he’s gone on to advocate for peace throughout the world, committed thousands of hours of service to numerous communities and pioneered an in-school program that has improved the lives of countless students.

If it’s possible for one individual to redeem themselves and be recognized for turning their lives around, why can’t another?

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