Monday, 21 January 2013

No Name Calling at Glendale School...

flickr image via db Photography | Demi-Brooke

No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.
Glendale Sciences and Technology School is excited to participate in No Name Calling Week, January 21-25, 2013. As part of our Empathy ReBoot Project we aim to draw attention to the issue of name-calling during the week. We are committed to taking steps that effectively address its causes resulting in a more caring and safe school where everyone feels a sense of purpose and belonging that extends beyond this week to become more of our everyday cultural reality at Glendale School.

From the No Name Calling Week website... 
No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled "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 taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the "Gang of Five" (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. The No-Name Party in the end, wins the support of the school's principal for their cause and their idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.
Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's publishing, consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the US. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
I have spoken to hundreds, perhaps thousands of adults over the years as a workshop facilitator and conference speaker. I speak about resiliency most commonly; the ability of people to bounce back from adversity to become stronger and more capable than they were before. Sadly, when I ask them what it was that caused their adversity, one of the most common responses I get is bullying in the form of name-calling. They wear their emotions on their sleeves as they tell me stories of "that kid," or a parent, teacher, coach or relative that berated them when they were young with names that they have not forgotten... even into adulthood. The tears flow liberally as they tell their stories, and it makes me sad.

So at our school, we don't want to pay lip-service to this problem. We fully acknowledge that members of our school family call people names... sometimes directly, and sometimes perhaps, without them even knowing it. Our Empathy ReBoot Project is not a glossy, canned anti-bullying program. We're not painting with numbers here. Our project involves a serious reflective process that requires all of us at Glendale to take a hard look at hard problems; to observe critically and determine ways that we can do empathy better. We have to be responsible for this. By not calling people names, and by not standing by when others are being called names, we intend to create a school where name-calling is abhorrent and rare. We understand that the process of eradicating name-calling at our school will take time. We have the time. We understand that eradicating name-calling in our school will involve explicit teaching and learning. We have the expertise to do that. We also understand that mistakes will be made, and as an evolving empathetic school, we have to forgive those mistakes and help people not make them again.

We can do all of this.

Watch our blog for updates throughout the week, and throughout the year as the mission to eradicate name-calling at Glendale School evolves.

Thank you for your support!