Students, teachers, and administrators at Rye Neck Middle School are geared up for No Name Calling Week next week, January 20-23.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Students, teachers, and administrators at Rye Neck Middle School are geared up for No Name Calling Week next week, January 20-23. In conjunction with the school’s No Place For Hate program, activities will focus on the power of words.
“The research tells us that an ongoing event leaves more of a lasting impression,” said Guidance Counselor Brendan Nelson. “The fact that it’s school wide creates a culture where everyone’s included no matter how old you are or what grade you’re in.”
Nelson and Guidance Counselor Meegan Lawlor, who enrolled the Middle School in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) No Place For Hate program that linked their efforts to statewide initiatives, focus on providing safe learning environments where all students are valued. Last year, every Rye Neck sixth, seventh, and eighth grader signed the ADL’S Resolution of Respect to strengthen the school’s Rules Against Bullying already in place.
According to Lawlor, tackling prejudices and promoting unity are especially important in middle school, where students’ idealism prevails. “It’s a message the kids can’t get too much of,” she noted. “We’re always looking for ways to raise awareness.”
No Name Calling Week is chockfull of activities that foster respect. Before the event, the Student Senate and the Art Club designed publicity posters. In addition, Lawlor addressed crossing the line and reading other people’s facial expressions in all her sixth- grade character education classes.
“Words are powerful,” emphasized Lawlor. “It just takes one word to make or break somebody’s day.”
Kicking off the week, both guidance counselors, as well as Principal Eric Lutinski and School Psychologist Michelle Lividini-Loiacono, will make a presentation in each classroom. The library will display age-appropriate books with examples of people handling bullying situations well. All students will also be signing a No Name Calling pledge before a lively Spirit Day.
In addition, whichever three homerooms come up with the most creative, original, and positive public service announcements will have the opportunity to broadcast them throughout the entire school.
As Nelson remarked, “It’s actually more powerful when you hear the message from your own peers. It gets spread much further.”
Eighth grade ADL Student Advisor Melissa Velqui added, “People should know it’s okay to be different. We’re a small school, so we should be one community working together.”