As my family and I struggle to find peace, I have determined to do everything in my power to eliminate name-calling and bullying of all kinds from schools so that other boys and girls do not suffer as Carl did.
New York, NY (Vocus) January 26, 2010
Thousands of schools across the country begin participation today in the seventh annual No Name-Calling Week, a week of educational activities designed to end name-calling and bullying of all kinds.
No Name-Calling Week is a project of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, in collaboration with more than 50 national education and youth service organizations.
“Name-calling and bullying are pervasive problems in our schools, particularly at the middle school level,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “As we learn about more and more tragic examples of the impact of bullying on students, No Name-Calling Week provides schools an opportunity to focus, in a positive way, on creating an environment where students learn to respect each other.”
This year’s No Name-Calling Week takes on an added importance after several high profile suicides by elementary and middle school students in the past year in which name-calling and bullying are believed to have played a role.
Sirdeaner Walker, whose 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover died by suicide, has since become an advocate for safe schools, encouraging educators to address bullying in schools. In a statement, Walker said, “As my family and I struggle to find peace, I have determined to do everything in my power to eliminate name-calling and bullying of all kinds from schools so that other boys and girls do not suffer as Carl did. I am writing now to ask you to join me in this effort by participating in No Name-Calling Week, an event designed to help K-12 schools engage their students in the important work of building respect for all.”
Schools participate in a variety of ways, from hosting assemblies to hanging up posters throughout the school promoting respect to encouraging students to intervene when they hear name-calling. Lesson plans for all grade levels and other resources can be found at http://www.nonamecallingweek.org.
In addition to incorporating lesson plans into the week, many schools also encourage students to participate in No Name-Calling Week’s Creative Expression Contest (submission deadline is Feb. 26). Winning entries from the last year will be on display today through Feb. 26 in the lobby of Lyndon Baines Johnson Education Building at the U.S. Department of Education.
The Creative Expression Contest also has a new high school category this year in partnership with the bullying prevention program Stories of Us that encourages students to submit short films about anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) name-calling and bullying.
No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the young adult novel The Misfits by James Howe, a story about four students who have experienced name-calling and decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a “No Name Day” at school. Hundreds of thousands of students have participated in No Name-Calling Week since its inception.
From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a Harris Interactive Report commissioned by GLSEN, found that 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 nearly a third said that school staff did nothing in response when the incident was reported.
To learn more about No Name-Calling Week or join our social network on Facebook, visit http://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 in 1990, 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 http://www.glsen.org