Words hurt! More than that, they have the power to make students feel unsafe to the point where it affects their performance in school or they can't conduct a normal life.
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. During the week of January 22-26, schools serving grades five through eight across the nation will be asked to take part in a week of education activities aimed at stopping name-calling and verbal bullying of all kinds.
In 2004, over 3,000 educators, administrators, parents or students registered from over 600 schools nationwide to participate in the campaign's first year. No Name-Calling Week 2004 was a tremendous success.
This year, GLSEN Pittsburgh has joined the national campaign which is supported by over forty education, mental health, youth advocacy, and social justice organizations to address the problem of name-calling and verbal bullying. Locally, over 266 Principals and Counselors in more than 58 schools from 16 school districts have been invited to participate in this year's campaign.
Locally, GLSEN Pittsburgh is supporting the campaign by offering the following resources:
• No Name-Calling Week Kits for those schools interested in challenging their students with a week's worth of activities. Kits contain a resource guide with lesson plans, a video for classroom use and other promotional materials.
• A Creative Expressions Contest for students in the form of essay and art poster competitions. Monetary prizes are being awarded.
• Student and adult speakers before, during and after the campaign, who will educate, inspire and motivate students and staff in participating schools.
• General information and consultation.
The “No Name-Calling Week” project was inspired by The Misfits, a novel written by author James Howe and published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. The novel tells the story of a group of seventh grade friends that, after repeated taunting based on weight, height, intelligence and sexual orientation/gender expression, decide to run for student council on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Although they lose the election, the message wins out and the principal backs their call for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.
Although the project is targeted at grades five through eight – years when the problem of name-calling is particularly acute – the concept can be easily adapted by students and educators at other grade levels.