SCHOOLS ACROSS COUNTRY CELEBRATE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF GLSEN’s NO NAME-CALLING WEEK

MEDIA CONTACT
Daryl Presgraves
Director of Communications
646-388-6577
dpresgraves@glsen.org

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2014 – Thousands of schools across the country are celebrating the 10th anniversary of GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week this week, an annual event during which educators emphasize kindness and compassion as a means to eliminate name-calling and bullying of all kinds.

“GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week provides schools with an opportunity to engage students in a dialogue about how they can play a role in addressing name-calling and bullying,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “Over the past 10 years, No Name-Calling Week has reached tens of thousands of K-12 classrooms and become an established part of the school calendar. It is heartening to see schools embrace positivity as an important component of bullying prevention – celebrating kindness and fostering a culture of respect.”

Schools participate in a variety of ways but usually incorporate lesson plans and activities found on nonamecallingweek.org, such as writing classroom name-calling policies, encouraging students to sign a pledge to be kind to each other, and creating a No Name-Calling Week Creative Expressions Exhibit.

No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the popular young adult novel The Misfits by author James Howe. The book tells the story of four students who have each experienced name-calling and who decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a No Name-Calling Day at school.

Together with The Misfits publisher Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, GLSEN created No Name-Calling Week in 2004 to encourage schools to dedicate a week of the year to improving school climate. Since then, No Name-Calling Week has grown into one of the largest bullying-prevention initiatives in the country. The program is designed for use at all grade levels.

“I’m incredibly proud of what GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week has been able to accomplish,” said Howe, who wrote a blog post for GLSEN in the voice of one ofThe Misfits characters celebrating the 10-year anniversary. “It’s been an honor to see an idea in one of my books spark a conversation in thousands of schools about how young people can learn to respect each other’s differences. I look forward to the day when bullying and name-calling are no longer a problem in our nation’s schools.”

According to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN, 47% of middle and high school students identified bullying, name-calling or harassment as a somewhat or very serious problem at their school. Additionally, 65% of middle and high school students reported being verbally or physically harassed or assaulted in the previous year because of a personal characteristic. Nearly a third of these students who were assaulted or harassed said that school staff did nothing in response when the incident was reported.

In GLSEN’s Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States, 75% of elementary school students reported that students at their school are called names, made fun of or bullied with at least some regularity. Most commonly this is because of students’ looks or body size, not being good at sports, how well they do at schoolwork, not conforming to traditional gender norms/roles or because other people think they are gay.

GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week is supported by the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, comprised of more than 60 national partner organizations including the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the American School Counselor Association and the National School Boards Association.

Join the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtags #nonamecallingweek and #celebratekindness.

ABOUT GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

 

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LEARN ABOUT A REALLY COOL COLLEGE

Unity College Bear Study Releases One Year Report

Unity, Maine – January 17, 2014 – At the one year mark, a ground-breaking bear study has released a report that offers some new insights into the lives of Maine black bears in central Maine.  The report is on the Unity College web site at www.unity.edu.

As the multi-year study continues, members of the bear study team are taking stock of successes, evaluating shortcomings, and focusing on the one prize that has so far eluded them: placing a video collar on a Maine black bear.

The ongoing study features analyses of blood samples, DNA analyses, tracking of Maine black bears in the greater Unity, Maine, region, and opportunities for student researchers to gain high level, hands-on research experience.  It may be the only undergraduate bear study in the United States.

In the first year, 68 Unity College students from a variety of majors participated in the study.  Led by teams of faculty and staff members, the students were clustered into 17 teams.  Each year as students graduate, new opportunities arise for undergraduates to join the study.

Associate Professor George Matula says that the Unity program with permission from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), is providing valuable data on Maine black bear in the Unity area, which is not one of the focus areas of the longstanding MDIFW bear study.  Unity College is continuing to collect data similar to what MDIFW gathers in their three study areas. “The MDIFW study of Maine black bears dates back to 1975,” Matula said.  “Our study is providing opportunities for students to get involved in real-life, large mammal research and management.”

Though the team hoped to affix a video collar on a large female bear, a variety of challenges prevented that from happening in 2013.  Team members did successfully capture three female bears that were fitted with radio collars.  Two were killed when hit by cars, but one is alive and well.  Her den was recently located by Matula and Lisa Bates ’08, a Unity alum and a Wildlife Biologist contractor with MDIFW who is also helping to coordinate the study at her alma mater.  The real world challenges of studying bears in the wild once again hobbled the team over the summer.  Bates and a volunteer pilot were injured when their helicopter crashed while tracking one of the collared bears.  The latest trip to locate the same bear and its den went far more smoothly.

“Lisa found the bear’s den approximately fifteen feet off the ground in a hollowed out tree,” Matula explained.  He says that it was important to locate the den in case the collar quit functioning before biologists could replace it.

In May, study members will return to the field to trap bears and gather biological data.  Several bears will be fitted with radio collars.  Matula is confident the video collar will finally be deployed.  The video camera placed on one of the bears will be removed and sent to the manufacturer for retrieval of the footage.  Student researchers will download and analyze those data.

“The bear that receives a video collar has to be relatively large, and although we would prefer to collar a female because of the large amount of family information they provide, if necessary we will place the collar on a male bear,” Matula said.

In addition to gaining valuable scientific field research and data analysis experience, Matula says that students also developed communication skills that allow the study to take place.  Team participants informed Unity area landowners about the study and successfully solicited permissions from landowners to trap bear on their land.

“Sixty eight landowners gave written consent for the study to access their land,” Matula said.  “That the students were able to gain access to approximately 11,000 acres is impressive for this part of Maine.  We don’t have the large land blocks in this part of the state like they do at the MDIFW study sites in Northern and Downeast Maine.”

Matula says that student research teams have been created to work on specific aspects of the study, such as planning the study; designing databases; conducting GIS analyses; procuring a bear culvert trap; deploying hair snares; conducting DNA analyses on bear hairs and blood; performing blood analyses; and pre-baiting for the trapping season.  Six summer interns will trap full-time from May 10th to July 11th in 2014.

The general public is encouraged to call any bear sightings in to the Unity study at (207) 509-7269, or e-mail jwhelan@unity.edu. “The information received will help us focus our research efforts,” said Matula.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its ground-breaking green innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education.

Through the framework of sustainability science, Unity College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Through experiential and collaborative learning, our graduates emerge as responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders.

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