The issue of bullying is being addressed in a new way at San Ramon Valley schools this week.
The school district is observing its first-ever No Name-Calling Awareness Week, with students and staff participating in a variety of ways, including art activities, classroom discussions and wearing a blue wristband displaying a key message of the program, "Words Matter."
"It's been very exciting to see how this has been embraced," Rachel Hurd, president of the Board of Education, said at a recent school board meeting. "It's extremely moving to see how this means something to the kids."
The awareness week is sponsored by the school district's Climate Committee and the Inclusion and Diversity Committee of the San Ramon Valley Council of Parent-Teacher Associations.
"The program seeks to focus attention on the problem of name-calling in schools and to provide students and educators with the inspiration to launch an ongoing dialogue about the impact of words so they can eliminate name-calling in their communities," said PTA committee chair Shalini Kumar.
Schools are observing the awareness week through various activities, some occurring district-wide while others are unique to specific campuses and classrooms, Kumar said.
At California High School in San Ramon, one group of students created a four-minute video spotlighting the issue of name-calling and its impact on their peers.
The video also encourages students to bear in mind slogans such as "words matter, choose the right ones," "think before you speak," "don't let other's words define you," and "say something kind today."
Other planned activities at local schools include displaying "Inclusion" and "Diversity" banners, spirit days, assemblies, poetry and essay contests, and signing school-wide pledges to avoid using insensitive words, Kumar said.
"Through No Name-Calling Awareness Week, we hope to promote acceptance of everyone for who they are and respect for differences," Kumar added.