This week, January 23-27, 2012, schools in the United States will participate in the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s(GLSEN)eighth annual No-Name-Calling Week. With GLSEN’s mission of ensuring safe schools, No-Name Calling Week has become one of the most used and celebrated bullying prevention programs in the country.
Schools participate by using special lesson plans at www. NoNameCallingWeek.org, hosting assemblies and hanging art work that promotes diversity. Bullying is considered a public health crisis in this country; a 2005 Harris Interactive/GLSEN report, found that 69% of junior and middle GLBT high school students reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and nearly a third said that school staff did nothing to intervene. Bullying is so pervasive that GLSEN is now using No Name-Calling Week in all grade levels.
While GLSEN’s efforts in the schools are laudable, shouldn’t the parents who are preaching hatred of diversity by referring to someone as a “faggot” or “light in the loafers” also watch their tongues? The children who are harassing at school are most likely copping their parents’ attitudes at home. The media is also responsible for ingraining into the viewer’s brain the stereotype of the gay person: weak, effeminate, with an over-the-top sense of drama.
Let’s portray acceptance of minority groups not only in our schools, but at home, and in the media. And not just for a school week!The Golden Rule we learned in school should be practiced every day, everywhere!