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How Educators Can Get Ready for Inauguration Day at School

For over a decade, GLSEN’s No-Name Calling Week has been a time each January for educators to focus the discussions in their classrooms on bullying prevention and celebrating kindness. GLSEN has always supported these conversations by providing lesson plans and planning tools, and sharing ways to promote kindness in schools.

This year, No Name-Calling Week ends on the day of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration. No Name-Calling Week classroom discussions around bullying and name-calling in schools may be amplified by the national conversation following this particularly harsh campaign season. There has been a range of mixed emotions for students, and many schools have had to refocus on respect and what that looks like among people with opposing viewpoints. Nine out of 10 educators saw negative impacts on student mood and behavior following the election, according to a survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Given this context, in which LGBTQ, Muslim, students of color, immigrant and other marginalized students may be feeling unsafe, the lessons of No Name-Calling Week are more relevant than ever.

From January 16-20, teachers and other adults in schools should be prepared for young people to feel similarly to how they felt right after the election. Educators like you can make a difference for students by providing space for conversations around the power of words, teaching actively about what kindness looks like in the classroom, and intervening when students need to feel protected and safe.

Of course, educators always have a never-ending list of things to do, and January is all too-short of a month after winter break. Only you know what discussions, activities and lessons will be right for your students, but we are here to help. We have resources, tools and lesson plans that address name-calling and bullying, and tons of ideas for celebrating kindness and discussing the power of words.

Register for GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week to receive more information and free classroom materials. Then, visit the No Name-Calling Week Facebook Page to connect with the thousands of educators across the country committed to putting kindness into action.

Together, we can ensure that all students feel safe in their school communities and know that their educators will be there for them when they need support most.