NEW YORK – Thousands of elementary and middle schools are participating in the sixth annual No Name-Calling Week this week to educate students about tolerance and to foster a dialogue among students about why bullying and name-calling is wrong.
Aimed at grades 5-8, No Name-Calling Week is a week of educational activities designed to end name-calling and bullying of all kinds. The program is a project of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, in collaboration with nearly 50 national education and youth service organizations.
“While we wish every week could be No Name-Calling Week, this week offers schools and educators an opportunity to address the serious problem of name-calling and bullying in America’s schools,” said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. “No Name-Calling Week’s message of tolerance and respect has a profound impact on creating safer and more successful schools.”
Most schools participating in No Name-Calling Week use lesson plans and resources available at www.nonamecallingweek.org. Lesson plans are available for grades K-8.
Schools also participate in the accompanying Creative Expression Contest that encourages students to create a work that expresses their thoughts on bullying and name-calling. Student entries range from songs to artwork to poems to videos. Deadline for the contest is Feb. 13.
Also available this year is a special educator’s guide that allows teachers to incorporate GLSEN’s Think B4 You Speak public education campaign into No Name-Calling Week. The campaign, created in partnership with the Ad Council, encourages students to think before they say hurtful terms such as “that’s so gay.” Public service announcements featuring Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes are airing nationwide. The educators guide is available in the For Educators section at www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com.
No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the young adult novel, The Misfits, by popular author James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent name-calling, bullying and harassment. The students create a “No Name Day” at school in hopes of creating a safer environment.
No Name-Calling Week Coalition partners include the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National School Boards Association and the National Education Association.
In GLSEN’s 2005 report, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, 47 percent of junior/middle high school students identified bullying, name-calling or harassment as somewhat serious or very serious problems at their school. Additionally, 69 percent of junior/middle high school students reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41 percent said they felt very safe at school.
To learn more about No Name-Calling Week, visit www.nonamecallingweek.org.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.