Governor Deval Patrick today joined hundreds of students from across the Commonwealth participating in "No Name Calling Day" to raise awareness and take a stand against bullying in our schools. As part of today's events and activities across the state, Governor Patrick held an event at Collins Middle School in Salem where hundreds of students wore black and signed a banner pledging to "Black Out Bullying."
"I am so proud to see these young people standing up and leading the charge to 'Black Out Bullying' in our schools," said Governor Patrick. "'No Name Calling Day' is about the idea that each of us has the power to stand up and take ownership of our community. One voice has the power to become many and effect meaningful change."
A provision of the anti-bullying legislation signed by Governor Patrick in May 2010, "No Name Calling Day" is recognized in classrooms across the Commonwealth on January 25. Working with superintendents and school leadership, the Governor's Youth Council led events and activities today in: Quincy, Weymouth, Hyannis, New Bedford, Martha's Vinyard, Nantucket, Greenfield, South Hadley, Hopedale, Somerville and Boston.
"We need to foster safe environments for students, and 'No Name Calling Day' is an initiative to help raise awareness that bullying should not be tolerated," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "I hope that on this day and throughout the year, students feel protected and safe in their schools and communities."
"'No Name Calling Day' and the 'Black Out Bullying' initiative are going to play essential roles in moving towards a culture in the Commonwealth of zero tolerance for bullying," said Victor (Manny) Cruz, chair of the Governor's Youth Council. "This is a unique opportunity to spread awareness, and inspire educators, youth and parents to come together to build a safer and empathetic learning environment for everyone."
Communities Hosting "No Name Calling Day" Activities:
* In Quincy, at Atlantic Middle School, Secretary of Education Paul Reville joined students, local officials and school leaders to discuss efforts to reduce youth violence.
* In Weymouth, at Abigail Adams Middle School in Weymouth, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester joined students for a morning assembly led by Youth Council member Andrea McDonagh.
* In Hyannis, at Barnstable High School, Youth Council member Fallon Rice rallied students to wear black and take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At New Bedford High School, Youth Council member Gabrielle Monteiro rallied students to wear black and take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At Martha's Vinyard Regional High School, Youth Council members Emma Hallbilsback and Delmont Araujo rallied students to wear black and take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At Nantucket High School, Youth Council members Eve Manghis and Cooper Voigt rallied students to take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* In Greenfield, at Four Rivers Charter Public School, Youth Council member Emily Bolduc rallied students to wear black and take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* In South Hadley, at Michael E. Smith Middle School students wore black and took the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At Hopedale Junior / Senior High School, Youth Council member Kiara Lum rallied students to take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At Somerville High School, Youth Council member Kevin Ma rallied students to wear black and take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
* At East Boston High School, Youth Council member Kimberly Mendoza rallied students to take the pledge to Black Out Bullying.
In each of the schools, students created banners and led rallies in cafeterias and auditoriums, encouraging their peers to sign up and publicly express their commitment to preventing bullying. Students also took to Facebook and Twitter to promote the efforts. In addition, Governor Patrick's Project 351 Ambassadors, a group of eighth graders representing cities and towns from across the Commonwealth helped boost participation in their schools.
The Governor's Statewide Youth Council is comprised of 28 young people ages 14 - 20, representing all 14 counties of Massachusetts. Council members were selected to advise the Administration on key issues affecting youth across the Commonwealth and identified youth violence prevention and education as the two issues they will focus on this year. View the full list of Youth Council members.
At Collins Middle School in Salem today, Governor Patrick joined Principal Mary Manning, Conflict Intervention Coordinator Brad Maloon and local elected officials taking part in the event. Among its efforts to create safe learning environments for its students, the Salem public school district has been working closely with the Essex County District Attorney's Office on bullying prevention initiatives that include Stop Bullying Before it Starts, a bullying prevention awareness program for students and Think Before You Send, a digital communication program that addresses cell phone use, social media and internet safety.