Clay Aiken – Words Can Hurt

Bullying and name-calling are nothing new for kids in school. But the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is hoping to change that with their annual No Name-Calling Week that starts Monday, January 23,2012 and runs through January 27, 2012.

The ninth annual observance of NNCW will take place in thousands of schools across the country. Established to create awareness of and to combat bullying of LGBTQ students and allies inside and outside of school, NNCW is an especially focused event this year in light of the many recent high-profile gay teen suicides.

Daryl Presgraves is the Public Relations Coordinator for GLSEN. He said:

Bullying has always been a problem in schools. While we wish that fact would be enough to make people and schools take action, unfortunately it sometimes takes high-profile tragedies like the ones last fall to make many people realize just how bad the bullying problem is in our schools, particularly as it relates to anti-LGBT bullying.

No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits” by the popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends who try to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the “Gang of Five” (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school’s principal for their cause and their idea for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.

Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition was created by GLSEN in 2004. There are over 40 national partner organizations. One of the biggest is Barnes & Noble. This big-name partner has committed to holding a host of activities and educational events during January. The company has declared January No Name-Calling Month in its stores and online.

Presgraves said:

We’ve seen an encouraging increase in inquiries about No Name-Calling Week this year. With partners like Cisco, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and now Barnes & Noble, we know more people than ever will be impacted by the No Name-Calling Week’s message of respecting all people.

The wonderful project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.

I am so proud that Clay Aiken has chosen GLSEN as one of the groups that he supports. According to their site:

GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community. We welcome as members any and all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or occupation, who are committed to seeing this philosophy realized in K-12 schools.

This sounds like an idea that should be embraced by everyone.

Last year when I was researching information about No Name-Calling Week, I came across a wonderful blog written by a mother who seems to be doing the right things for her kids. Her short story is very touching and I hope you will visit her blog. It is a moving article full of hope. You can visit her blog, titled “a moon, worn as if it had been a shell

For more information on GLSEN, you can visit their website which is full of wonderful information and hope.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

~ Leo F. Buscaglia (1924-1998)

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3 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Words Can Hurt

  1. Great! I love that there are people out there that are willing to use their celebrity status to stand up for those whose voice is often silenced through brutality!

  2. I was picked on and teased in school because I was so shy and I hated it. I'm glad that bullying is being talking about and that people are trying to do something to stop it.

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