The schools will participate in a statewide “No Name-Calling Day,” an event intended to reduce verbal bullying.
Teachers at all the elementary schools will teach about the lasting damage of cruel words using paper hearts as props, while the Middle School will focus on the power of bystanders to stop bullies.
Milton High School will distribute bracelets inscribed with the motto: “”One goal, one community: Moving beyond bullying” and remind students of the lessons taught in an earlier session with Bentley University students about creating a kinder school climate. Anti-bullying activities will continue at the high school for a week, said Assistant Principal Alan Cron.
No Name-Calling Day is scheduled for Wednesday, January 26.
As part of the continuing campaign against bullying, the schools will bring in Daniel Feeney to speak about cyber-bullying and Internet safety on February 10 at 7 p.m. Feeney is Director of Juvenile Programs for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office.
Milton Schools also will have a district-wide Day of Kindness on April 13.
Cron said the anti-bullying effort seems to be working.
“Kids are still being mean to one another, but I think awareness is up and it is having an effect. It’s been a very positive year so far,” he said.
The schools started an anti-bullying hotline, where people can anonymously report incidents of bullying, fighting or risky behavior – by emailing email@example.com or calling 617-696-4470, extension 5444.
Cron said about have half a dozen tips have come in, “that have led to investigations or reaching out to kids who have been silently suffering. We’ve gotten kids some help.”
“We haven’t had as many reports as we anticipated,” he said. But that may be because the anti-bullying campaign is working, he added. “The thing about prevention efforts like this, the signs of improvement are silent. Because if you are doing it well, you don’t hear about it.”
A national group started “No Name-Calling Week” in 2004, inspired by the plot of young adult novel “The Misfits” by James Howe. Students at the Quashnet School in Mashpee lobbied successfully to have “No Name-Calling Day” incorporated into the anti-bullying legislation approved by Massachusetts lawmakers last year.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.