Over the last year, schools throughout the US have experienced a frightening increase in bullying and acts of hate. Each year, schools across the US participate in bullying prevention activities during the month of October. This year, when hate is on the rise, our greatest challenge is to “hit the brakes” on bullying and move toward welcoming, identity safe, and inclusive places.
What is the urgency?
The largest portion of hate incidents in the post-election period occured in K-12 schools and college campuses according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Incidents like these are being reported across the U.S.: swastikas on walls, African American students threatened with nooses, Heil Hitler salutes at sporting events, young people chanting “Build a Wall, you’re getting deported” as they point to Latino students.
Immigrant, Black, Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQ students continue to be targets of relentless harassment and bullying. We can make a difference in transforming school environments into safe and inviting communities for all students.
Take Action Now:
1. Show a free Not In Our School film and support an open discussion on ways to promote inclusion and stand up to hate.
Try one of these free online films and lesson guides:
- Our Family, A film About Family Diversity: 7.5-minute Film and Lesson Guide
- NIOS Elementary Assembly Launch Kit: Toolkit with film, scripts, and guide
Middle and High School
- Waking in Oak Creek: Full 33-minute film and Lesson Guide
- Light in the Darkness: 30-minute film and Lesson Guide
- White-out to Erase Bullying: Film and Guide to do an anti-bulllying campaign in your school
More free films are available at notinourschool.org
2. Start a Student-Led Campaign Use the NIOS Student-led Campaign Guide with step by step lessons and activities to launch a campaign lead by motivated middle and high school students. Purchase here: Student-led Campaign Guide Schoolwide license: $39
3. Teach students about how to stand up to bullying as well as to promote respect, and inclusion. Use the NIOS Classroom Lessons Guide with 7 lesson plans for middle and high school students. Purchase here: Classroom Lessons Guide Schoolwide license $59.00
- Open dialogue: Help students find their voice, appreciate their own identities and backgrounds and develop acceptance for the diversity of their peers. Recognize and respond: Make rules and expectations clear. Publicize reporting protocols. Train all staff and students on safe methods to prevent bullying.
- Teach Bystanders to be Upstanders: Provide classroom lessons to promote empathy, diversity, and social and emotional learning (SEL). Model and role-play ways to speak up.
- Foster Safety and Inclusion all Year Long: Empower students to find solutions and lead peer-led inclusion events. Have older students mentor younger ones.
- Educate the Community: Partner with parents and community leaders to support youth.
- Visit Not in Our School's Facebook page to find a "Tip of the Day" in partnership with the Bully Project.
Join the movement
Not in Our School is not only a campaign but a national movement to create safe and inclusive schools and communities where everyone has a part to play in hitting the brakes on bullying and all forms of bigotry.
Begin with these steps, but recognize that it takes sustained and collaborative effort where everyone works together to bridge differences and validate unique and diverse identities.