By Steev Riccardo
Oxford - In April 2010, just before Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick passed the revised anti-bullying legislation, a group of elementary school students from Mashpee lobbied to add their own provision to the law: a No Name-Calling Day. Patrick inserted the item in Section 1 of the anti-bullying legislation, citing the fourth Wednesday of January as No Name-Calling Day throughout the state.
In Oxford, an Anti-Bullying Task Force committee formed by the Oxford School Committee has been meeting regularly and announced last week that they will observe a No Name-Calling Week instead, the last week of January.
“We are doing really great work and keeping in tune with the message that bullying will not be tolerated in Oxford Public Schools and bullying will end in Oxford Public Schools,” said Brenda Ennis, chair of the school committee.
The Anti-Bullying Task Force is comprised of administration, students, parents, teachers, and school committee members Mark Peterson and Ennis.
“As you can imagine there is a great deal of conversation going on during our meetings,” said Ennis. The group will be meeting again on December 19th at Oxford High School.
The Oxford School Committee originally formed an Anti-Bullying Task Force in 2010 to complete a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education policy. This policy had been mandated to each district as an Intervention Plan. That task force was disbanded in early 2011.
A new subcommittee was then formed. The group had discussed the “No Name-Calling Week” and presented it to school committee members, who were also in favor a week-long observance.
“No Name-Calling Day” was inspired by a national initiative called “No Name-Calling Week” and was motivated by the novel The Misfits, written by a young writer named James Howe.
Howe’s book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression.
Motivated by the inequalities they see around them, the group creates a new political party during student council elections and runs on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. In the end, the No-Name Party wins the support of the school's principal for its cause and its idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.
The book has been influential nationwide and indirectly was the impetus for Oxford’s plan to move forward with the weekly observance. Ennis feels that is a major step in the schools efforts to curtail bullying, and it’s hard to disagree.
- Monday, 19 December 2011
- Posted in Categories: : News