Upper Blue Elementary School students fight stereotypes, bullying with ‘No Place for Hate’ program | SummitDaily.com

Upper Blue Elementary School students fight stereotypes, bullying with ‘No Place for Hate’ program

Upper Blue is one of 1,800 schools enrolled in the nationwide movement

The Summit School District Administration Building in Frisco is pictured Nov. 12., 2020.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

A group of Upper Blue Elementary School students involved with the national “No Place for Hate” program gathered during an April 13 Summit Board of Education meeting to tell district leaders what their work has meant for school culture. 

No Place for Hate was launched by the international civil rights group Anti-Defamation League, which has a mission of fighting antisemitism and bias. More than 1,800 schools participate in the program which engages students and staff in dialogue and learning around bias, bullying, inclusion and allyship, according to the program’s website

Upper Blue, which has a student group for the program consisting of 15 to 25 students, has been recognized by the civil rights group for its efforts. In 2017, the league presented an excellence award to the school. 

To participate in the program, schools must form a student group, sign and publicize the No Place for Hate pledge and hold events that educate the school about avoiding stereotypes and bullying. 

Other events at Upper Blue have included an art contest and a celebration for veterans on Veterans Day with a poem. 

“You’ve given me a lot of hope as the superintendent about the future of our country by being so clear that there’s no place for stereotypes and no place for hate,” said Superintendent Tony Byrd after hearing the students speak. 

When asked by Byrd how the program has made Upper Blue a better place, students said the work has made other students more aware of times when they may have been bullies or inflicted harmful stereotypes onto others. 

The students’ efforts toward ending hate and discrimination were underscored by a district parent, who spoke during the meeting’s public comment period about the adversity his sixth-grade son has faced at school. 

“Our son has recently experienced antisemitism at school both directly through student interaction and indirectly through hate symbol graffiti,” said Ken Jacobs. 

Jacobs commended the district’s response but said he would like to see the No Place for Hate program scaled to encompass other schools in the district.

“We are aware that other students have faced similar adversity while at school. So we feel that the time is now to adopt a district-wide initiative to create a stronger culture of kindness in our schools,” Jacobs said. “Our population is becoming more and more diverse and our students need to feel safe and accepted.”

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