More than 600 students at Earl Warren Middle School have signed a surfboard as part of a pledge to start a No Place for Hate campaign.
“We are talking about making ourselves a more inclusive environment,” said Justin Conn, the school’s principal, explaining the pledge to students as they filed into the school’s media center Dec. 13 to add their names to the surfboard.
Conn said the initiative started a few months ago with a parent’s suggestion to start an effort aimed at making the school more inclusive. School staff did some research before deciding on the No Place for Hate campaign, which was started by the Anti-Defamation League as a way to help schools eliminate bias and bullying in their classrooms.
A longboard was donated by Degree33 surfboards, signed by about 40 school staff members and a few parents, in addition to the hundreds of students. The board will hang on the wall in the media center.
The No Place for Hate pledge was projected onto a wall for each student to review before signing their names. It asks students to “gain understanding of those who are different from me,” “speak out against prejudice and discrimination,” “reach out to support those who are targets of hate,” “promote respect for people and help foster a prejudice-free school,” and tells them that “promoting intergroup harmony are the responsibilities of all students.”
Other San Diego schools that have adopted the No Place for Hate initiative include Canyon Crest Academy, Poway High School, La Jolla Country Day School and Del Norte High School. Each one is responsible for creating a No Place for Hate Committee of students, staff and family members to identify bias and bullying issues in their schools and figure out ways to address them.
Safina Abraham, an Earl Warren seventh-grader, said she wanted the school to have a No Place for Hate designation because of the intolerance she’s experienced as a result of having one black parent and one white parent.
“I kind of have to navigate through stuff like that,” Safina said.
She joined eighth graders Shae Andreason and Gabrielle Fish at a conference with other students implementing the No Place for Hate pledge at their schools. Earl Warren will hold several events as part of its No Place for Hate pledge to help students put the principles into practice.
“It’s really something that will improve it,” Gabrielle said about the campaign’s effects on the school’s inclusiveness.