Remember your mother and your Sunday School teacher telling you to treat others as you wish to be treated? One of the largest bullying-prevention initiatives in schools throughout the United States starts tomorrow, on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day, January 16th and runs until January 20th, Inauguration Day. It is fitting that No Name-Calling Week of 2017 starts on MLK Day as the great preacher stressed kindness, respect, for the treatment of all people as he called for the acceptance of a diverse society.
No-Name Calling Week, 2017
Nearly half of teachers believe that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a very serious problem at their schools. Bullied students, research finds, miss up to one day per month of school due to their discomfort at being harassed.
What Exactly Is No-Name Calling Week?
No-Name Calling Week is an opportunity to show you’re an ally to LGBTQ students, particularly transgender and gender nonconforming students, as well as LGBTQ students of color. An annual event, No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the popular YA novel titled The Misfits (2001) by James Howe. The book is about four best friends in the seventh grade who experience bullying due to their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation. During student council elections, they create their own party aimed at eliminating name-calling of all kinds. The principal gives his support of the party and their founding of the “No-Name-Calling Day” at school.
Simon & Schuster, the publisher of The Misfits, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education, Network) formed The No Name-Calling Week Coalition and organized No Name-Calling in schools throughout the United States. Supported by over sixty national partner organizations, schools organize a week of activities such as posters, dress, written materials to demonstrate their acceptance of differences.
GLSEN provides tools for lessons and activities for elementary, middle, and high schools. For samples and possibilities for your schools, see http://www.glsen.org/nonamecallingweek.
While this week will bring attention to the bullying problem, by modeling kindnes
in our everyday lives, both in and out of school, you can fulfill King’s prophecy to accept others who may be different from you. Speak kindly and be thoughtful to others not just this week, but always. “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it at all.”
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.
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