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No Name Calling – by Rodger Dinwiddie, Executive Director


Many folks simply don’t want to confront the reality that language is powerful and can either be a great source of blessing or curse. Language can build or destroy. That’s why No Name Calling Week is so important.

This year school and community organizations will celebrate No Name Calling Week at the end of January. No Name Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds. Schools and community organizations launch an ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying and harassment in their communities. However, No Name Calling Week has not been without controversy throughout the years. Mostly because its roots were in the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). So, the issue of civility gets caught up in current political agendas. What a shame that the very thing that the founders of No Name Calling Week sought to address become lightening rods for further name calling.

Frankly, agendas are tiring, but would we’d all be in complete denial if we thought we could avoid them. And, we can’t begin to address issues in this space about verbal bullying, harassment, and violence without getting the issue of incivility out in the open, first. At STARS the agenda is about the prevention of violence … in all its nasty forms. Our mission is to work within schools and communities to help all students overcome social and emotional barriers to learning. That is our agenda … helping students succeed in school, which we know cannot occur if safety is not the first priority. So, in the days ahead we’ll explore these issues and share what can be done to address some of the core matters associated with these very sensitive and important issues.

STARS is deeply committed to creating a culture and work space that centers on the power of relationships, that values diversity of perspective and experience, and that honors the dignity, worth, and contributions of all.