How Advocates Maintain Message After Awareness Weeks
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was yesterday, but did you know this week is No Name-Calling Week?
It’s a national anti-bullying initiative started by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN.
Danny Hernandez is with GLSEN Phoenix and said Arizona’s anti-bullying policies are among the worst in the nation. He said focusing on something like name calling gets at the root of bigger issues.
"Taking for example, saying something is gay or calling someone gay in a negative way as if it is a negative thing, it promotes that; it perpetuates that idea," Hernandez said.
To combat that problem, GLSEN provides resources for teachers year-round, as well as ideas for this week in particular. They can play videos for students, make classroom rules about name calling, have students write poems and more.
Kyrene Aprende Middle School has opted for a “spirit week.” The students will arrive in their pajamas Wednesday for “Put Name-Calling to Rest Day”. Alex Wong is a teacher there and helps organize the school’s No Name-Calling Week each year.
"We just see the kids reaching out to others that they don’t normally talk to. We see them being just more naturally kind to one another. Middle school’s kind of a tough age, so they sometimes need reminders on how to be just human to one another and be friendly," she said.
Wong said bullying is something she and her fellow teachers confront year-round. She said the key to dealing with name-calling is to address it immediately when it happens, even if it’s not during no name-calling week.
But, how do advocates transition from their dedicated weeks or months into the rest of the year, and keep their issues on people’s minds? Kris Bosworth, a professor in the Educational Leadership program at the University of Arizona College of Education explained.