October 7-11, 2019, was DMAE’s annual Week of Respect. The week of events organized by the Guidance Department and Jalesah Brooks, the counselor in charge, focused on preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying. New Jersey school districts statewide implemented the Week of Respect, which will now take place every year starting on the first Monday of October.
“The Week of Respect aims to make students feel more comfortable and to bring attention to bullying prevention,” Ms. Brooks explained.
Students took part in activities including wearing blue to symbolize the universal Day of Bullying Prevention, wearing a piece of clothing that represented their culture, and signing the Anti-Bullying pledge in the cafeterias during lunch. These activities were meant to illustrate pride in oneself and pride for the community.
“I signed the anti-bullying pledge in the cafeteria and thought that it was so nice,” junior Tamee Fujimura remarked.
Tamee understood, as did others who signed the pledge, that it allowed them to realize the weight of their actions and hold themselves accountable to treating their peers with respect.
Nationwide, an average of 20 percent of children aged 12-18 have reported being bullied. Additionally, and even more troubling is that over 70 percent of the students report that they have witnessed instances of bullying first-hand. This has caused a major disturbance in the school environment and administrators all over the country are challenged to solve the amount of bullying that occurs in schools.
“I participated in all of the activities like wearing blue. I think that bullying is a big problem and this is a nice way to bring some thought to it,” junior Anna Bogen said.
What started as being a local development which only a few regional schools practiced, is now a statewide event. From one school to multiple, school districts have adopted the Week of Respect to bring attention to the problem of bullying and to encourage students to respect and stand up for their peers. DMAE, and many other schools, plan to continue to sponsor this event again in future years to keep awareness present in the minds of students. One student can make a difference.