In October, Colonial Elementary School (CES) students took a pledge to create a school that's No Place for Hate — a program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League aimed to reduce bias and bullying, increase appreciation for diversity and build communities of respect.
After a year of activities that included a number of initiatives tied to National Bullying Prevention Month and regular Mix-It-Up at Lunch events, their work paid off, and a team from CES traveled to Philadelphia for the No Place for Hate Designation Celebration at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
"A lot of things we were already planning to do this year fell into the categories of what we had to do to become a No Place for Hate school,' said CES Teacher Emily Rosenfeld. "The kids were excited and were really into it."
Ariell Johnson, the keynote speaker for the No Place for Hate Designation Celebration, created the Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, the first black-woman owned comic book store on the East Coast, when a cafe she frequented closed at the location. Her goals for the East Kensington shop struck a chord with CES fifth grader Isabel Carceras.
"My biggest takeaway was to make people comfortable wherever they are and share your differences and what you have in common," said Isabel. "And be nice to everyone."
Colonial Elementary School now joins Colonial Middle School and Plymouth Whitemarsh High School as No Place for Hate schools.