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"No-Name Calling Week" in Wisconsin

January 29, 2009

Madison, WI – A group of concerned educators is hoping to make the schoolyard bully go the way of the buggy whip and the five-cent candy bar. Name-calling and bullying in school can be devastating for those who are the target. No Name-Calling Week is aimed at focusing attention on the problem in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Program spokesman Daryl Presgraves says the old "sticks and stones" adage just doesn't apply anymore.

"We think it's important that schools focus on finding ways that can ensure students tolerate and respect each other. It's really important students feel safe in school in order for them to get a proper education."

In many cases, Presgraves says, it's the student who is perceived as being different who is the target of abuse.

"This is something that is pretty much universal. Every student is affected by this, but certainly students who others view as different are most-often targeted."

In some cases people brush-off name-calling advocating "letting kids just be kids," adds Presgraves. He says, we have all probably been guilty of name-calling, but we have a responsibilty to teach children the difference between right and wrong. The impact that a bully has on a fellow student can have far-reaching consequences that could impact someone far beyond his or her school years, according to Presgraves.

"It isolates us, it puts us in a corner and it makes it difficult for us to learn and it makes it difficult for us to achieve as well as we can in school."

A study by Harris Interactive found that nearly half of the middle school students surveyed believe name-calling and bullying are serious problems in their schools. No Name-Calling Week is being promoted by the National Education Association and the National Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, along with 50 other organizations.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI