By Annette McLoughlin
Inspired – or maybe troubled – by a national environment that seems to be challenging our collective notion of civility, several parents of Middle School students approached Rye Middle School principal Dr. Ann Edwards with a proposition. The concerned parents recommended that the school consider applying to enter a program overseen by the Anti-Defamation League called No Place for Hate. Dr. Edwards embraced the idea and set the wheels in motion. “I thought this would be a good vehicle to use to bring the issue of respect, civility, and inclusion to the attention of the students in the middle school.”
In order to qualify for official No Place for Hate designation, a school must form a committee, collect signatures on a “Resolution of Respect” contract, complete a training program, and design and implement a school-wide anti-bias or anti-bullying program. The program must clearly define the expectations for behavior from the community. The majority of RMS students signed a resolution and it is currently a registered school.
Dr. Edwards explained the next step in the process. “The students will complete a brief survey to identify the degree they think bullying and related behaviors are a problem inside and outside RMS. We want to learn if we have problems with name calling, teasing, exclusionary behavior, homophobia, sexual harassment, or cyberbullying.”
The results of the survey will determine a course of action. “We want to help our students develop civility. They are moving into a more and more inclusive world. We want them to be able to live in a peaceful world,” said Dr. Edwards.”
Other No Place for Hate designated schools include Dobbs Ferry High and Middle schools, Edgemont Junior-Senior High School, Rye Neck Middle School, and Somers High and Middle schools.
For more information on the program, visit www.adl.org/who-we-are/our-organization/signature-programs/no-place-for-hate.