Try to imagine our excitement when the following message from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) came into our email:
“No Place for Hate progress continues! Two new schools have joined the Initiative: Stuart Hall High School in San Francisco and Harriet Eddy Middle School in Elk Grove (Sacramento Area):
A special story about Harriet Eddy Middle School: This partnership came to us thanks to the enthusiasm and initiative of a 7th grade student who had just moved to Sacramento. Last year, his school in St. Louis, MO was a No Place for Hate school and his experience was so positive, that he wanted to make sure it continued in his new school! Staff and Administrators were pleased to support his desire to create a No Place for Hate club!”
Although our EGUSD schools frequently make regional news for good things happening in public education, it’s not every day that a district school and student are showcased by a national organization. So, of course, we contacted HEMS principal Mark Benson for the details: “We’re very impressed by the commitment of Miche, a 7th grader, to bring the No Place for Hate program to Harriet Eddy as a lunch-time and after-school club. NPFH is empowering a growing group of HEMS students to confront and challenge all forms of bullying. The program also complements PBIS.”
On February 27, it was our pleasure to spend the morning with Mische, Club President, and his fellow NPFH club members for a special event: Becoming an Ally. As a NPFH school, HEMS was eligible for an ADL-sponsored workshop. Thanks to HEMS staff support, the students were able to join ADL Education Coordinator Melia Dunn in the school library for a full day of highly interactive discussions. “Being able to come together for an extended time allowed the students the opportunity to examine the many forms of intolerance and exclusion that are often part of the middle school culture and to brainstorm ways to promote acceptance and battle against ignorance and prejudice within their own community,” said NPFH club sponsor Jasmine Wayne.
Melia Dunn, ADL’s Education Director and facilitator for the HEMS event, emailed us the following day:
“My co-facilitator and I were just so impressed with how well the students focused on activities and shared personal experiences. The No Place for Hate club at HEMS is certainly a unique group that should be honored and celebrated as they continue to be part of the change toward No Place for Hate!”
We’ll be inviting Mische and his club members to join us as guest bloggers in order to provide you with more details and insights into HEMS’s No Place for Hate club. In the meantime, we hope the photos from the Becoming an Ally event will give you an idea of what an amazing event and amazing group of students we are showcasing.