(February 11, 2021 – Jersey City, NJ) Explore Middle School Holds Virtual #SafeToBe Rally
Explore Middle School Peer Leaders and the LGBTQIA+ Alliance hosted No-Name Calling Week from January 18th to the 22nd ending with a #SafeToBe Assembly to combat name-calling and other forms of bullying.
GLSEN’s No-Name Calling Week is a week organized by K-12 educators and students to end name-calling and bullying in schools across the country. The week and the #SafeToBe Rally is an event that is celebrated nationwide and disrupts anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment and bias-based bullying and invites LGBTQIA+ students to assert what they want to be called.
The Peer Leaders and the LGBTQIA+ Alliance wanted to bring awareness to the entire school community about how derogatory names and statements should be eliminated while also increasing awareness about preferred names and pronouns of LGBTQIA+ youth.
"No Name-Calling Week is a special week in which our students are celebrated for their uniqueness as an individual. I am so proud of all the students for taking the initiative to engage in this assembly and take a stand against bullying by recognizing each other's preferred names and pronouns. Together we can all make a difference by being more inclusive of all members in the Explore Family Wolfpack,” Ms. Mary Norcia, LGBTQIA+ Alliance advisor, explained.
Peer leader advisors, Ms. Angela Cirillo and Ms. Frances Bermas echo Ms. Norcia’s sentiments. “We are very proud of the teamwork that was done by the Peer Leadership Program as well as the LGBTQIA+ Alliance Club. The Peer Leadership Program continues to showcase that Explore Middle School is a family as we are the Wolf Pack after all.”
Throughout the week students were asked to create art and poetry to showcase their support in ending bullying and name-calling. The art and poetry were shared all week long on Explore’s social media as well as during the assembly.
During the assembly, faculty advisors reviewed educational resources including videos and safety reminders, guidelines for being respectful at all times, and the Hudson County Schools of Technology bullying and intimidation policy.
Student body Vice President, Peer Leader, and LGBTQIA+ Alliance member, Maya Boguszewski was very proud of the work the students put into the assembly and hopes to see more assemblies like it. “I think this #SafeToBeRally was an amazing way to connect with my peers. I loved being able to be a part of it and I am so glad that Explore decided to host this event. We made sure all students felt comfortable in their own skin and felt safe. I think that more schools should consider having meetings like this.”
The Peer Leaders and members of the LGBTQIA+ Alliance spent time sharing their thoughts and feelings on respecting peoples’ pronouns, what bullying is and why it is bad, and what it takes to be kind to others.
Superintendent Lin-Rodriguez attended the assembly. Afterward, she shared, “Explore's #Safetobe Assembly was an inspiring hour for the students, staff, and guests of Explore Middle School. The facilitators, hosts, and student presenters were well-planned and prepared to support this initiative. The navigation of slides, the speeches, and shared student work created a remarkable format for this assembly. KUDOS to the ENTIRE Wolfpack for their active engagement and flexibility to host such an impactful experience for these young learners.”