It’s GLSEN’s annual No Name-Calling Week, a time to focus on ending name-calling and bullying in schools and promoting #KindnessInAction. Somehow, it seems more relevant than ever.
The event was founded in 2004 with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (which is still a sponsor), inspired by James Howe’s novel The Misfits, about students who run for student council on a No Name-Calling platform after being the subject of harassment themselves. (You may also be familiar with Howe from his terrifically funny Bunnicula series about a vampire bunny.) One of the posters that teachers and students can purchase for this year’s event is based on another Simon & Schuster book, Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle, about a boy who wants to star on Broadway and is questioning his sexuality. It’s yet another example of a publisher stepping up to support LGBTQ inclusion.
Even though some progress has been made to reduce anti-LGBTQ and other forms of bullying and name-calling in recent years, there is still far to go. With the leader of our country engaged in name-calling on an almost weekly, if not daily, basis, it feels even more necessary for those of us close to children—parents above all, but also teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, and others—to make it clear that name-calling is harmful and inappropriate. GLSEN is offering a variety of free resources and lesson plans (in addition to a few for-sale tchotchkes) for K-12 educators and student leaders. Those who register get free streaming of LGBTQ-inclusive classroom documentaries and first access to new resources.
“The week is rooted in the idea of #KindnessInAction — not merely recognizing the importance of kindness, but actively adding kindness into our every action,” GLSEN tells us. Whether our children are participating in No-Name Calling Week activities in their schools or not, that’s a thought to live by, this week and every other.
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