For the past 10 years, Blackwell Elementary School has earned the distinction of being a “No Place for Hate” school. No Place for Hate is an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League, who has a longstanding commitment to securing justice and fair treatment for all people. Through this program, schools are given a framework for creating activities that encourage members of the school community to engage in pro-kindness and anti-bullying behaviors.
By participating in No Place for Hate over the past 10 years, Blackwell Elementary shows their community that they are committed to having a safe place for their students to learn and grow. To earn this designation, schools must apply annually. The application includes evidence of the formation of a committee of students, families, and staff members focused on this initiative, school-wide signing of a pledge, which is displayed for all to see, and the implementation of at least three school-wide activities that promote kind behavior.
This year, the first of these projects was No Place for Hate Week, a week-long celebration where lessons on bullying, kindness, and tolerance were taught by the school counselors. These lessons lay the foundation of a common language that students and staff use when defining upstanders and bullying
Also during the week, the school participated in themed days to engage the community and create excitement. The days included “Hello Day,” which focused on the importance of acknowledging others in the community with a greeting and smile. Students were given nametags to wear so that everyone could greet one another by name throughout the day. To close the week, Friday’s theme was “Give Peace a Chance Day,” which was an opportunity for the community to celebrate having a school where they can learn peacefully and focus on standing up for others in a peaceful way.
The remaining No Place for Hate activities will take place throughout the rest of the school year. In February, they will focus on diversity and tolerance with their International Night, where they hope many of their families will showcase their culture and heritage. In May, Blackwell will have a Special Needs Awareness Week, sponsored by their Special Education Department.
School counselors at Blackwell Elementary, Lisa King and Shannon Scepaniak, shared how grateful they are to live in a community that has ongoing dedication to reinforcing the concepts of kindness, acceptance, and tolerance. They anticipate that the year of activities will be a huge success – just like in years past.
Dr. Melisa Marsh, Supervisor
Contributing Authors: Alexandra Huguelet, School Counseling Consultant, and Lisa King, School Counselor