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The Anti-Defamation League, an international organization committed to fair treatment to all, has recognized John Jay High School's purposeful focus on proactive and progressive activities to foster positive school culture and acceptance. On Friday, May 25, students and teachers from John Jay High School will travel to New York City to receive formal designation as a “No Place for Hate” school.
John Jay is one of over 1,800 schools across the country that will be recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as a “No Place for Hate” school this year.
“I’m extremely proud of the students, staff, and parents and community members for engaging this important work together throughout the school year,” said Dr. Steven Siciliano, Principal of John Jay High School. “We’re proud to say John Jay is ‘No Place for Hate’ as it speaks to the character, values, hopes, and commitment of our students and community. We will work to keep it so.”
John Jay’s No Place for Hate committee has been holding monthly open forums. Its steering group, made up of two student leaders—Taylor Bell, a junior, and Lauren Munoz, a freshman, and English teacher Vicki Weiss, social studies teacher Marc McAlley, and Assistant Principal Kim Piccolino, weaves student ideas into a tapestry of programs.
“Building empathy is a form of courage and it’s time for us to be courageous,” said Weiss. “We can say we do not tolerate hatred, we can even say we engage students in discussion about it, but what we need to do is actively show that we do not tolerate it. It is imperative that we plan activities and speakers who espouse that belief, but who are also engaging and provocative.”
The first initiative was in November. All students at John Jay High School had an opportunity to sign the Resolution of Respect in their social studies classes. It said, in part, “I will seek to gain understanding of those who are different from myself. I will speak out against prejudice and discrimination. I will reach out to support those who are targets of hate."
The group also sponsored Kindness Day, in mid-January. Each student was asked to pledge one act of kindness, write it on a sticky-note, and hang it on a classroom door. After students completed the action, they removed the sticky-note.
On May 21, all students at John Jay High School will participate in the school’s second annual "Wellness Day," sponsored by the DASA (Dignity for All Students) and No Place for Hate committees. Students will rotate through six sessions led by teachers, fellow students, and visiting speakers on topics including healthy relationships, living clean and sober, and gender. The entire student body will gather to hear Frank Meeink, author of “Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead,” speak against racism and for the importance of inclusion and acceptance.