No Name-Calling Week (this year’s motto: Celebrate Kindness) was inspired by the YA novel entitled The Misfits by James Howe. The book (an easy read for or with your young student) follows four best friends dealing with seventh grade and the insecurities and taunts that can often go along with it– for these students, those taunts are often leveled against their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation. The friends create a new political party for the class;s student council revolving around ending name-calling, and the ideas for the campaign result in a No-Name Calling initiative endorsed directly by the school administration. GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s publishing have partnered together with dozens of other organization to bring organized efforts for No Calling Week into schools across the nation, efforts now touted as one of the largest bullying-prevention initiatives in the country.
The Department of Human Health and Services’s helpful site StopBullying.gov gives current stats on bullying:
* 15% of all high school students were cyber-bullied in the last year
* 55% of LGBTQ high schoolers were cyber-bullied in the last year
* 49% students in grades 4-12 report being bullied in the last month
GLSEN is coordinating efforts this week with all those who want to participate, including opening up a Creative Expression exhibit for people to share visual pieces of how they’re participating in the initiative to end bullying. They’ve got ideas listed for students to participate here, and a page here with resources for parents on how to respond when your child is being bullied.
Let the students in your life know that you Celebrate Kindness, and maybe take this week’s focus as an opportunity to discuss bullying with them.