NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2008 – Thousands of schools this week are participating in the fifth-annual No Name-Calling Week
, a project of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, in collaboration with nearly 50 national education and youth service organizations.
Aimed at grades 5-8 with additional lesson plans for earlier grades, 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.
"Name-calling and bullying begin to take hold as an everyday experience in elementary and middle school,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Interim Executive Director. "No Name-Calling Week is an opportunity for schools to address the problem in a proactive, educational manner. Far too many students know how important a week like No Name-Calling Week really is."
Haviland Avenue School in Audubon, N.J., wanted to find out just how prevalent bullying is on its campus. The 2008 No Name-Calling Week "Creative Expression Contest" winner in the school or school district category took a survey of its 6th graders. Nearly every student – 98% – said he or she had experienced bullying.
No Name-Calling Week is inspired by the young adult novel, The Misfits, by popular author James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent name-calling, bullying and harassment. The students create a "No Name Day" at school in hopes of creating a safer environment.
No Name-Calling Week Coalition partners include the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National School Boards Association and the National Education Association.
In GLSEN’s 2005 report, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, 47 percent of junior/middle high school students identified bullying, name-calling or harassment as somewhat serious or very serious problems at their school. Additionally, 69 percent of junior/middle high school students reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41 percent said they felt very safe at school.
To learn more about No Name-Calling Week, visit www.nonamecallingweek.org
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.