A rose by any other name (apologies to Shakespeare) can be really thorny. We all know that bullying is a serious problem that affects millions of students, and the annual No Name-Calling Week gives educators and students the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
Bullied students feel unsafe and, therefore, are often absent from school. In addition, bullying can affect the physical and emotional health of students and hinder their academic performance. Bullying within school buildings is fairly common, but children spend countless hours “socializing” through mediums such as computers and cell phones and cyberbullying has presented itself as an “easy” and partly “masked” or anonymous way of harassing people.
For these and other compelling reasons, BoardBuzz believes it’s imperative that schools address bullyinghelping schools to be safe and supportive havens for students as well as places where they learn how to be respectful throughout their lives. Celebrating No Name-Calling Week, which began today, is a practical way to start the ball rolling. No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel called “The Misfits,” by author James Howe. The book tells the story of a group of 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. Inspired by the idea contained in the book, the No Name-Calling Coalition, created by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized a No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation.
Although the project is targeted at grades five through eight years when name-calling is particularly serious the concept can be easily adapted by students and educators at other grade levels. To help celebrate, the No Name-Calling Week website offers free materials such as planning documents; elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans; art lessons; promotional items; and anti-bullying resources from coalition partners. In addition, a Resource Kit is available for purchase that includes among other things: an educational video; a comprehensive resource guide with program information; 11 lesson plans; and a copy of “The Misfits.”
And if you need to learn more about ways to prevent cyberbullying, NSBA has the right resource for you! NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network has partnered with CyberSmart! to distribute their free Cyberbullying Package to schools nationwide. The materials in the package provide tools for schools to begin a dialogue with students and build a sustained cyberbullying prevention campaign, promoting behavior change and continually reminding the school community of the importance of safe and ethical online use.
What are your schools doing to prevent bullying? Leave us a comment.