Anti-Bullying Law Highlights 'Week of Respect' in Schools

School officials say week is just the beginning of anti-bullying expectations year-round

West Orange schools aren't taking the anti-bullying laws lightly and are dedicating programming and curriculum for a "Week of Respect."

Principal Michael Schiavo said though the schools have a week of respect every year, "It's very important this year in respect to the new law."

Gov. Chris Christie signed the early this year, which advocates say makes New Jersey the state with the strongest stance against school bullying in the nation. In accordance with that law, the West Orange Board of Education passed a

"If you're dealing with this new law it's really incumbent upon us to report any indication of bullying. We can always talk about 'don't be a bully, don't be a bully' but we need to show it more, we need to live it more," Schiavo said.

At Mt. Pleasant, Schiavo is taking a proactive approach, encouraging students to be kind to each other. Students can earn "respect bucks" for complimenting their peers and respecting their classmates. Students with the most respect bucks can earn a place in the hall of fame. Schiavo said he plans to continue the program year-round.

"It's starting to become second-nature, people are trying to be kind," Schiavo said. He said he's noticing students complimenting each other's shoes, clothes and answers to questions in class.

In Principal Marie DeMaio said the week is just a kick-off to what is expected for the entire school year. "The only way to teach children is to reinforce," said DeMaio.

Prior weeks of respect had more of an anti-violence message, said DeMaio, who has been principal at Washington School for 25 years. "This year it's geared towards the message of anti-bullying."

She said each class was informed of the new laws at the beginning of the year and parents were briefed during Back-to-School night. DeMaio said this week, the anti-bullying message is being incorporated into music, art physical education classes and in the curriculum.

On Thursday, the students wore yellow and blue to show respect and pledge to no bullying, said DeMaio. The school's front fence was dotted with blue and yellow ribbons tied around a large banner that read, "Washington School Students Pledge to 'RESPECT' One Another."

At West Orange High School, the Gay-Straight Alliance is hosting a discussion and the Honors Art Club decorated the hallways with artwork addressing themes such as tolerance and respect.

How is your school celebrating the week of respect? Add your photos or let us know in the comments.

Zachariah Mathew October 06, 2011 at 05:27 PM
It is wonderful. Principal has taken the right action. The word RESPECT can also be written with folded palm as Indians greet each other with folded arms and palms. Its meaning I respect / worship the God in you, as we are all created in the image of GOD.
Vinny's Foreverluvdbyme October 07, 2011 at 02:16 AM
No one should be bullied because of the way they dress, think, feel, who they like, their sexuality, race, ethnicity, or ANYTHING at all. This world and especially the society of now is fucked up. Everyone needs to stop being little stuck up bitches and notice tht nobody's perfect, especially them since they're sick minded people.
Cynthia Cumming October 07, 2011 at 02:27 AM
The town will be proclaiming the third week of October as Anti Bullying Week in West Orange. Lawn signs will be placed at each school; a mixed media arts campaign is underway; and decals will be distributed to sports teams at WOHS, SHP and PAL as West Orange takes a stand against bullying.
Mike Weakley October 07, 2011 at 04:53 AM
October is National Bully Prevention Awareness Month. I have developed a bully prevention show for elementary schools. Highlights of the show can be seen here... http://youtu.be/2qAvD01RD9E http://www.StopBullyingShow.com
Susan Reed October 08, 2011 at 05:07 PM
If you have a bully problem, print a sign that says: WE EXPOSE BULLIES HERE:>>> http://www.exposethebully.net/ and post it all over your school, workplace or blog. - Please re-post this helpful information on other blogs -


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