Middle School

No Name-Calling Initiative

Kindness & Poetry: Bringing Awareness to Name-Calling

It was an impossible task. Students in Ms. Garaway’s seventh-grade English class were asked to crumple up a piece of paper, and then try to smooth it back out. Naturally, the paper never returned to its original crisp state; instead, it was permanently impacted by the act of crumpling.

“We read a story called ‘Feathers into the Wind’ to understand the power of gossip and hurtful words,” explained Ms. Garaway. “The creased paper represented mean and hurtful, or untrue, comments. The message was that even if you apologize, or ‘take it back,’ or didn’t mean it, the scars are there forever, and you can’t fix them; just like the marks on the paper will stay forever.”

This lesson wasn’t a unique one. Similar lessons were heard and felt throughout the entire Middle School, as Sinai Akiba students participated in the No Name-Calling Week. The week-long event is organized by K-12 educators and students to end name-calling and bullying in schools. According to the website, “The week is rooted in the idea of #KindnessInAction — not merely recognizing the importance of kindness, but actively adding kindness into our every action.”

Mr. Geoff Agnor, Middle School Director, shared that his goal was to bring awareness to the damaging effects of name-calling and to promote kindness by having the Middle School participate in a number of events and advising lessons during this week.

“In preparation for No Name-Calling Week, all MS students answered a writing prompt about The Harmful Effects of Name-Calling,” Mr. Agnor noted. “We kicked off No Name-Calling Week with an Assembly where we framed the purpose of the week: raising awareness about the negative effects of personal put-downs and ‘roasting,’ empowering ‘upstanders,’ and promoting school-wide kindness.” During the assembly, a few students and teachers shared personal stories about their own experiences with the harmful effects of name-calling, and a few students from Ms. Garaway’s class shared “Letter Poems” that they penned, related to name-calling.  

Other events took place during the week, which allowed students to express their true selves, address incorrect assumptions that others may have made about them, and participate in a kindness pledge drive. “We hope that the lessons and activities of No Name-Calling Week will continue to spark conversation within our community about the positive impact we all can have by treating each other with respect and kindness and calling out personal put-downs and name-calling, which have no place in our school,” said Mr. Agnor.

List of 8 items.

  • Anonymous Letter Poem

    Why  do you try
    to put me down?
    It’s as if your
    kindness and empathy
    has completely vanished
    from your body.
    The darkness
    of hate, discrimination, and anger toward me has
    covered your eyes,
    forcing you to
    blindly try to
    break me down.

    What is wrong with you?
    Have I done something wrong?
    I have tried to be kind and empathetic,
    but it’s as if I am
    a rodent.
    Has darkness
    taken over your mind,
    consuming it whole?
    Do you realize I am
    just like you,
    with feelings and emotions.
    You constantly try to break me with your
    cruel words.
    But your words just
    go around me.
    So, stop wasting
    our time.
    I couldn’t care less about your
    because they don’t
    bother me.

    You always ask,
    “What’s so special about
    you?” in a judgmental and rude tone.
    But I don’t talk to you.
    I don’t say every detail
    in my mind
    and I don’t speak
    about how
    I’m special or different.
    I don’t say,
    “Well, what’s so special
    about you?”
  • Anonymous Letter Poem

    Can’t you see
    You just think it’s funny
    But you don’t know
    How it feels
    What if it happened to you
    What’s the point
    Why did you do it
    Why can’t you see
    That it actually hurts me
    Over and over and over
    Every single day
    Something to bring me down
    Something to make me feel like garbage
    Don’t you think it hurts me
    How do you think I feel
    I don’t understand
    What if you were
    In my shoes
    How would you feel
    If it happened to you
  • Letter Poem by Cameron Singer '20

    I feel forgotten
    compared to others
    I don’t think you know
    the pain that I am going through
    When will you notice
    I think it is obvious
    I feel like a mirror
    with no reflection
    No one will notice
    that I feel broken
    If this continues
    then our friendship will end
    Open your eyes
    See my pain
    You should know
    better than others
  • Letter Poem by Gabriella Judaken '20

    You made me look
    You made me feel
    You’re talking,
    Not behind my back
    But in front

    Making everyone say no
    to me
    Making everyone ask me
    Why did you do that?
    Making everyone feel bad
    for you

    The good thing is
    The important people know
    You are at fault
    The good thing is
    You are lucky I am the bigger person
    I apologized

    Then you were a fake-friend
    You invite,
    You eat,
    You play,
    You sing
    With me, but
    You still talk garbage
  • Letter Poem by Gaby Terech

    Who am I to you
    A stranger
    A Faraway Galaxy
    A plane flying overhead
    What do you think of me
    Have I disappeared
    Am I invisible
    Haven't seen you for two years
    Is that enough
    Feeling like an atom
    That can only be seen with a microscope
    Who will it be
    Some say hi
    Friendly and kind
    But you
    The avoiding machine
    Falling from the sky like an iron anvil
    Filled with hate and woe
    Can this be happening
    Then you come and say
    Laughing while you walk away
  • Letter Poem by Hallie Reiss

    What did I do?
    do you hate me?
    All I did
    was try to fit in
    You turned everyone against me.
    I wanted to have friends
    You shut me out,
    You tried to
    make everyone
    Hate me
    Good for you
    It worked.
    All the hatred
    And lies
    I couldn’t
    take it anymore.
    You wanted me
    to leave
    So I did
    You’re Welcome.

  • Letter Poem by Justin Rostami '20

    I am glad you left
    I am glad you stayed away
    Even though it was because you thought you were better,
    I now have calmer days.
    Your brother still transfers the messages
    And transfers the pain as well
    And the occasional interactions on Saturdays
    Let’s just say they aren't so swell.
    The derogatory comments on the basketball court
    aren't the only things
    that made me despise you
    The amount you showed off,
    Really made me hate you
    no offense,
    But I hope you never come back
    for you were a menace
    To my innocent heart.

  • No-Name Calling Poem by Kalee Green '20

    It hurts like knives
    The words you’ve said
    It hurts like needles
    Why’d you say that?
    It hurts so much
    I feel horrible

    Please don’t call me weak
    I am strong
    Please don’t call me stupid
    I am smart
    Please don’t call me scared or awkward
    I choose to be quiet

    What if I said these things to you?
    Would you finally understand how terrible
    this is?
    Would you learn
    Would you be hurt, too?
    Would you feel misunderstood?

    Don’t put labels on others
    You haven’t looked on their insides
    only their outside
    When will you realize that people have feelings,
    People aren’t who you think they are
    They aren’t perfect.
    Nor are you

    Would you please understand!
Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center

Sinai Akiba Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

10400 Wilshire Blvd

Los Angeles CA 90024
310 475 6401

a Sinai Temple school