Chancellor Carmen Fariña and City Council Chair of the Education Committee Daniel Dromm today congratulated students and staff at 38 schools for implementing exemplary programs that addressed bullying and embraced diversity and differences in others, as part of the Department of Education’s Respect For All initiative. The 38 schools received Respect For All Schools Awards for implementing programs during the 2012-13 school year that teach students the importance of respecting others. The Department of Education (DOE) and the City Council created the award as part of the City’s efforts to combat bullying and harassment. The event was held at I.S. 141, the Steinway School, in Queens, one of the winning schools. Chancellor Fariña and Council Chair Dromm were joined by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Council Member Costa Constantinides, Council of Supervisors and Administrators Vice President Randi Herman, UFT Vice President for High Schools Janella Hinds, IS 141 Assistant Principal Vanessa Williams and community partners.
“Our students and staff come from all different parts of the world and Respect For All initiatives celebrate the richness of our cultural diversity,” Chancellor Fariña said. “I want to congratulate our 38 winning schools—the most ever—for creating and participating in programs that embrace differences in others. I also want to thank our elected officials and partners for their continued support of this initiative.”
“These should be some of the best years of a student’s life, and each student deserves a chance to go to school and get an education that allows them to follow their dreams, without worrying about bullying,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank Chancellor Fariña and the DOE in their continued commitment of The Respect For All Campaign’s tireless work to put an end to bullying giving all NYC students the chance to learn and grow in a safe environment.”
Respect For All is an initiative that schools engage in throughout the school year to address such topics as bullying prevention, diversity and fostering inclusive learning environments for all students. The Respect For All initiative’s goal is to combat bullying as well as harassment based on ethnicity, color, national origin, race, religion, citizenship or immigration status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, weight and disability. To support schools in this work, the Office of Safety and Youth Development has made many resources available to principals and school staff members through the online Respect For All Library — which includes sample lesson plans and connections to community organizations that offer programs and free curricular resources supporting the goals of Respect for All. The initiative is supported by the City Council, United Federation of Teachers, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and community based organizations.
“Respect For All is a vitally important program in our schools,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “Making our schools safe for all students is one of the most important things we can do to improve student performance. Only when students feel safe, can they thrive. I applaud all the award winners for participating in the 2014 Respect for All campaign and for their openness to acceptance and diversity.”
"I want to thank Chancellor Farina for championing the Respect For All program," said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. "It is important that schools have a learning environment where all students feel safe, valued and respected. I congratulate these schools for their outstanding work to promote Respect For All."
“These schools have demonstrated successful ways that school communities can work together to create safe, nurturing environments for our students to excel,” said Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm. “Congratulations to all the winners, their principals, teachers, students and parents.”
Council Member Constantinides said, “Respect For All is vital to promoting an environment of inclusivity and celebrating the diversity amongst our students. Bullying and harassment have no place in classrooms, lunchrooms, playgrounds, or any other part of students' learning environment. Respect For All promotes healthy self-esteem and strong emotional growth - important ingredients for a safe and bullying-free education. I commend Chancellor Farina and the Department of Education for their hard work on this important issue.”
“It’s not enough to just talk about the importance of respecting others,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Respect is something that we should all practice in every aspect of our lives. That means valuing the individuality of others and celebrating the diversity of our school communities. It also means standing up for someone who needs our help and support, especially those who are being bullied. The UFT and its Be BRAVE Against Bullying campaign support Respect for All, and we are proud to be part of this initiative.”
“It’s for very good reason that ‘Respect For All’ has now been institutionalized in our school system,” said Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). “Efforts to combat bullying have to be consistent, unified and second nature to educators, families and children, if we’re to have a meaningful effect on all forms of physical and verbal harassment. Our children have a right to feel safe and respected and so do our school teachers, administrators and staff, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or gender preference. In a social environment that is practically defined by social media and Web communications, NYC DOE is right to maintain a formal anti-bullying program that provides a supportive environment for all members of the school community.”
“As someone representing a district where two in three residents are foreign born and some 170 different languages are spoken, I don’t think you can overstate the importance and value of a program like Respect For All,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “Congratulations to all the students and staff at the schools that won awards. And thank you to the Department of Education for your commitment to teaching the fourth ‘R,’ respect.”
“I applaud the talented students of I.S. 141 and all of our city's Respect For All schools. Respect For All gives the young leaders in our community wonderful opportunities to explore and celebrate diversity. These students have recognized from a young age that their differences are strengths, and that a supportive learning environment free from harassment and discrimination is one where everyone can succeed,” said Assembly member Aravella Simotas.
“Our schools should be places where students feel safe and secure and are free to concentrate on learning without worrying about being bullied,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The Respect for All initiative has been effective in promoting a bully-free environment in our schools by helping educators craft programs and activities that teach kids to appreciate diversity, to respect one another and to know where to go for help if they or someone they know has been a victim of bullying or harassment. I commend everyone who has contributed to the RFA initiative’s success and I congratulate the winners of this year’s awards.”
The winning schools implemented many different kinds of programs that celebrated diversity and promoted respect among the students. For example, at IS 141, the Steinway School, students participated in a lesson that defined bullying, discussed the four main types of bullying, steps a victim should take to report bullying, what a witness should do to report bullying, and what disciplinary actions will be taken when a student is found guilty of bullying. In addition, the student government tasked students who were designated presidents of their homerooms to anonymously report instances of bullying, discrimination or unfairness of any kind immediately to an adult who can help. At another winning school, P.S. 89, the Cypress Hills Community School, in Brooklyn, students participated in Project C.A.R.E. – Communication, Accountability, respect and Effort --, a school-wide initiative created by parents, students and staff to promote positive school culture and support Respect For All. At P.S. 69 in the Bronx, peer mediators raised bullying awareness in the school. They helped coordinate activities like anti-bullying poetry contests, poster contests and friendship clubs. In addition, students, faculty and families created a multicultural holiday show.
“I want to applaud all students and staff for embracing Respect For All and learning ways our school communities can reinforce the importance of respecting others,” I.S. 141 Principal Pavlou said. “All students in all grades participated in lessons that identified bullying and offered solutions to deter this type of behavior in our school. It is a thrill to be one of the winning schools that exemplified successful Respect For All programs.”
“Schools are not islands: the attitudes and behaviors we see around us in society are going to arrive at the school door,” said Tom Roderick, Executive Director of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. “But while bigotry doesn’t start at school, it can end there. Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility is proud to be working with the NYC Department of Education’s Respect For All Program to educate children throughout New York City to respect others, appreciate differences and stand up to bias, bullying and other forms of injustice. In partnership with the Department of Education, we’re working in schools, every day, to implement programs that foster students’ social and emotional learning and build a more just society where everyone is respected.”
“We’re so excited to partner with the Department of Education for an engaging and educational Respect For All initiative,” said Dr. Eliza Byard Ph.D., Executive Director of GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network. “GLSEN is proud to help educators make schools safer for LGBT students and effectively intervene when they see anti-LGBT behavior.
“Respect For All continues to be a vital, important and wonderful tradition—schools culminating a year or more of their extraordinary work to promote safe and caring environments for children and youth, and kicking off the next year to keep it going and deepen it,” said Mark Weiss. Education Director for Operation Respect. “Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary and the co-founder and President of Operation Respect and its ‘Don't Laugh at Me’ program, is honored to join our partner organizations and the Department of Education in this essential ongoing effort. In the spirit of Pete Seeger's ‘If I Had a Hammer,’ we sing the song about ‘love between our brothers and our sisters, all over this land’.”
“The Anti-Defamation League is proud to continue to partner with the New York City Department of Education’s Respect For All Initiative,” said Evan Bernstein, New York Regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “We commend the Department’s commitment to proactively addressing bias based bullying and harassment. We looked forward to working with schools on the RFA initiative throughout the year to create respectful, safe and inclusive school communities.”
List of the winning schools:
Jonas Bronck Academy
Brooklyn International HS
I.S. 98 Bay Academy
P.S. 372 The Children’s School
NYC Lab School
Bard High School
Flushing International High School
The Children’s School Scholars Academy
Hillcrest High School
I.S. 141 The Steinway
I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong
SI School of Civic Leadership