Bloomfield High School is gearing up for a week of activities during New Jersey’s second annual "Week of Respect" on Oct. 1-5. The school will feature a series of activities each day designed to raise awareness about the potential dangers of bullying.
The state-wide event is mandated by law, resulting from a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed in 2011. The New Jersey Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Law designates the week beginning the first Monday in October of each year as a “Week of Respect” in New Jersey. School districts are directed to observe the week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimidation or bullying.
"The 'Week of Respect' is a highlight of positive behaviors that are encouraged every day at BHS," said Principal Chris Jennings. "Our goal is to place an emphasis on recognizing the diversity of BHS and respecting the many individuals who make up our school community."
School guidance counselor Cindy Sherman was selected last year to lead the event. She also heads up Peace Patrol, an anti-bullying committee comprised of school faculty members Joanne Decker (technology), Keri Giannotti (history), Rachel Goldberg (history), Jennings, McKensie May (science), Ellen Roscitt (dean of discipline), and Peg Sullivan (history).
In addition, Sherman moderates a gay/straight alliance club known as GLoW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever) which helped coordinate many of the activities.
"The 'Week of Respect' is always an excellent opportunity to bring awareness and consciousness to the endemic bullying issues in our schools," said Sherman. "Although we focus a lot of attention on the week’s activities, our real work as educators is to continually provide a safe and respectful space for everyone. Bullying should not be a rite of passage for anyone."
The "Week of Respect" schedule is as follows:
- Monday, Oct. 1 - Voices for Powerful and Positive Choices - History teachers are engaging students in dialogues about men and women who dared to raise their voices for powerful and positive choices - the theme of this year’s "Week of Respect."
- Tuesday, Oct. 2 - I Have Your Back - Students are encouraged to go to a fellow student they do not know and literally place the outline of a t-shirt on their back with their written pledge to always lend support, especially in a bullying situation.
- Wednesday, Oct. 3 - Wishing BHS Well - The school woodshop has built a wishing well that will be placed in the cafeteria. Students will deposit their positive wishes, desires and hopes for the high school into the well.
- Thursday, Oct. 4 - Wear Your True Colors - Students can purchase multi-colored wrist bands, each color representing something they may stand for, such as green for the environment, black for anti-bullying, and a variety of different colors and causes.
- Friday, Oct. 5 - Voices for Powerful and Positive Choices - Students are invited to step up to a microphone during their lunch period and either read a poem, sing a song with acoustic music or play a song. All songs and poems must be related to peace, respect and good will toward each other.