'No Name-Calling' Campaign Coming to Nation's Schools

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Thousands of American schools are expected to take part in the fifth annual "No Name-Calling Week," a homosexual advocacy group announced on Monday.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) said the campaign is aimed at children in grades 5-8, and the group offers additional lesson plans for earlier grades.

"No Name-Calling Week, Jan. 21-25, is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities," GLSEN said in a news release.

"No Name-Calling Week offers schools an opportunity to engage students about the importance of treating one another with respect," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's interim executive director. "Unfortunately, far too many students experience the negative impact of name-calling, bullying and harassment. Through proactive educational interventions like No Name-Calling Week, schools can make a difference in the safety of all of their students," Byard said.

GLSEN said No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the young adult novel "The Misfits," by James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends "trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent name-calling, bullying and harassment."

GLSEN said its No Name-Calling Week Coalition partners include Simon & Schuster Children's Publishers, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National School Boards Association and the National Education Association.

In the run-up to No Name-Calling Week, GLSEN sponsored a "Creative Expression Contest," asking students ages 5-15 to "illustrate what name-calling means to them through artistic expression such as poetry, artwork or music."

On its Web site, GLSEN says it "envisions a future in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."

The GLSEN Web site offers a guide for students who want to start "gay-straight alliances" or similar clubs at their schools. And the group also organizes an annual "Day of Silence" in schools, when some students and faculty members remain mute to "protest the oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth."

In previous years, conservative groups have criticized any attempt to publicize or advocate the homosexual lifestyle in the nation's schools.

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