- The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), today celebrated the kickoff of its annual No Name-Calling Week with students in thousands of schools gearing up to participate in the national event aimed at ending school-based name-calling and bullying of all kinds.
No Name-Calling Week was founded in 2004 by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing with more than 50 participating organizations supporting the week-long event. Key supporters of the bullying prevention program include founding sponsor Cisco with additional support provided by McDonalds and The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation.
"The frequent and widespread school participation in No Name-Calling Week can be attributed to a fundamental need to create learning communities that nurture individual happiness and success," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director. "Educators are committed to their students' achievement, but a solid foundation built upon empathy, respect and healthy relationships must be a part of that equation. No Name-Calling Week provides educators and students with a transformative moment to not only address how words can hurt others, but to also celebrate the differences found in everyone."
In honor of No Name-Calling Week, House Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) will introduce a congressional resolution during the week to commemorate the wide range of educational activities taking place in schools across the country aimed at ending name-calling, bullying and harassment of all kinds. Ros-Lehtinen is also a co-sponsor of the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
To support the week-long event, U.S. Olympic Soccer player Megan Rapinoe partnered with GLSEN to shoot an AOL "You've got..." public service announcement about the power of language. Rapinoe spoke about why people shouldn't use biased language on the field, in school or anywhere else. GLSEN is encouraging supporters to tell us why they support Rapinoe's message. GLSEN will be giving away a $500 Nike gift certificate, three signed Megan Rapinoe soccer balls and GLSEN merchandise to the people whose stories we share on the Changing the Game blog.
In addition, GLSEN's long-standing organizational partner GroundSpark is providing free streaming of Let's Get Real throughout No Name-Calling Week. GroundSpark produced the short film that examines issues that lead to bullying including differences based on race, perceived sexual orientation, learning disability, religion, sexual harassment and others.
The Creative Expressions Contest will be once again offered for schools to display their efforts to create a culture of no name-calling. Schools are invited to create school wide displays featuring the message of the week-long event and to submit a picture or video of the display for review. The winning school will receive a No Name-Calling Week prize pack containing a variety of merchandise, books and other materials from GLSEN, Simon and Schuster and Cartoon Network. All submissions are due on Friday, March 1 and may be submitted online.
Additionally, No Name-Calling Week is once again organizing the Creative Expressions Exhibit that will display students' original artwork that express their experiences and feelings about name-calling, and their ideas to end bullying in their schools and communities. Student artwork submissions will appear in a virtual exhibit premiering in the fall. Exhibit submissions will not be reviewed for the Creative Expressions Contest. All submissions may be submitted online.
GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the young adult novel "The Misfits" by James Howe, a story about four students who have each experienced name-calling and decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a "No Name Day" at school.
No Name-Calling Week is designed for use at all grade levels with schools organizing a diverse array of lesson plans, activities and other school resources for use throughout the week. In previous year evaluations, educators said they found No Name-Calling Week resources useful and that the program contributed to making their school safer.
According to "From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America," a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN, 47 percent of middle and high school students identified bullying, name-calling or harassment as a somewhat or very serious problem at their school. Additionally, 65 percent of middle and high school students reported being verbally or physically harassed or assaulted in the previous year because of a personal characteristic. Nearly a third of these students who were assaulted or harassed said that school staff did nothing in response when the incident was reported.
In "Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States," a 2012 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN, 75 percent of elementary school students reported that students at their school are called names, made fun of or bullied with at least some regularity. Most commonly this is because of students' looks or body size, not being good at sports, how well they do at schoolwork, not conforming to traditional gender norms/roles or because other people think they are gay.
To learn more about GLSEN's annual program, please visit the No Name-Calling Week website. You can also join the discussion on Facebook or on Twitter by following @GLSEN and using the hashtag #wordscanhurt.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.