When it comes to bullying, Crews MS students want to make sure their classmates know that someone has their back as they work together to promote a caring and inclusive school climate and create a positive community. As part of the school’s No Place for Hate initiative, a student committee planned a No Place for Hate Week in February.
At the beginning of the week, student leaders greeted their peers with emoji stickers as they entered the building, part of “Smile Day.” During homeroom, a student-made video shared the Resolution of Respect, then student leaders and home room teachers reviewed the Resolution with students and signed their names to signify their commitment to a school free of hate.
Students started their day on Tuesday with compliment cards. In addition, more than 100 “Take a Compliment” flyers were posted around the school so that individuals could tear off a compliment to share with someone else.
Wednesday was Selfie Day. Student leaders set up a photo booth where students could take a photo alone or with friends under the message, “I have decided to stride with love... Hate is too great a burden to bear. MLK, Jr. 1967.”
The week ended with No One Eats Alone Day. During advisement, students explored what makes them unique and how social isolation happens. At the conclusion of the lesson, students wrote words to describe their uniqueness on leaf shaped Post-it notes. Those notes were then placed on the windows in the school’s main hallway where paper vines linked each window. Posters by the windows further emphasized the message: “We identify trees and vines by their leaves. It is the leaves that people see. People will identify Crews by its students – YOU are our leaves. We come together to create a community… a place where all belong… No Place for Hate.” During lunches, student leaders facilitated inclusive activities with all students at each lunch table. Activities included group drawings, group stories, “which is better” choices, and Tic-Tac-Toe. Student leaders also spent time talking to students who self-isolated.
Counselor Elizabeth Butler says No Place for Hate provides a framework for teaching and learning about the topics of bias, prejudice and discrimination that can lead to the mistreatment of others. She says, “By capturing all of our efforts under the No Place for Hate tagline, we are able to educate, reinforce and expand each student and staff member's understanding of what respect encompasses."
While the initiative was supervised by Crews’ counselors, all of the activities were planned and led by students in the school’s No Place for Hate Club. As a peer leader, 8th grader Katie says she wants to make sure that her classmates know that someone cares about them and is speaking up against bullying behavior. "I feel like everyone should have equal opportunity to participate in every activity that they want to participate in at school, and not be afraid or embarrassed to do so." Beza, also an 8th grader, says the initiative has given students a way to make a difference at their school. " I believe diversity is important, and I want to make sure our school understands what that means."
Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, No Place for Hate is a self-directed program helping stakeholders work together to improve and maintain a positive school climate so all students can thrive.
No Place for Hate Resolution of Respect
“I pledge from this day forward to do my best to combat prejudice and to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would hurt anyone or violate their civil rights. I will try at all times to be aware of my own biases and seek to gain understanding of those who I perceive as being different from myself. I will speak out against all forms of prejudice and discrimination. I will reach out to support those who are targets of hate. I will think about specific ways my community members can promote respect for people and create a prejudice-free zone. I firmly believe that one person can make a difference and that no person can be an innocent bystander when it comes to opposing hate. I recognize that respecting individual dignity, achieving equality and promoting inter-group harmony are the responsibilities of all people.”