Respect for All Week
Every student and staff member brings to our public-school community the richness of our city’s cultural diversity and the desire for respect. It is the policy of the Department of Education and PS 69 to maintain a safe and supportive learning environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and/or bullying and from discrimination on account of actual or perceived race, color, citizen-ship/immigration status, religion, creed, national origin, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or weight.
A poem by David Harris
If we cannot respect another
How can we expect them to respect us?
If we cannot respect someone’s beliefs
How can we expect them to respect ours?
If we cannot respect someone’s race
How can we expect them to respect us?
If we cannot respect others
How can we expect respect in return?
Everyone expects respect
No matter who they are
The only way to gain it
Is to start treating everyone
As a friend, a brother, a sister
As a part of our extended family
No matter what color or creed they are
Only then will you start to get
The respect you so dearly crave.
(The following has been adapted from “Planting the Seeds of Peace” -Human Relations Media)
What is Diversity?
Diverse means a variety of different things, such as flowers, animals or colors. People can also be diverse. Here’s how:
People can look different. Skin color, eye color and hair color can all be different. Human beings also come in different sizes and shapes. Even family members may be different heights and weights and may not have the same hair or eye color. Look at your family. How do you look alike, how are you different?
People speak different languages. Did you know there are approximately 6700 languages spoken throughout the world? What languages do you and your family speak? What languages do your friends speak?
People live in different places. Some people live in cities, some in suburbs. Some live on farms or in the country. Other people may live on houseboats at sea. Some may live in tents in the desert.
People have different jobs and go to different schools.
People have different ethnic backgrounds. Some people are American. Others are a mixture between two or more different ethnicities, such as Spanish, Irish, Italian, Greek, Jewish, African American, or Asian. What is your ethnic background? Where do your parents and grandparents come from?
People practice different religions and observe special holidays. Some people are Catholic and celebrate Christmas and Easter. Other are Jewish and observe holidays like Hanukkah. Some people are Muslim and observe Eid al-Fitr. Can you name another religion and a holiday that people who practice it may celebrate?
When it comes to diversity, it’s important to remember that although people may be different, we all have one thing in common – we want and need respect and dignity.
What is Prejudice?
Sometimes people don’t treat others fairly and exclude others because they are different in some way. They accept only others who are exactly like them. This is prejudice. But judging someone without knowing anything about him or her can be hurtful. It can keep people from knowing and understanding one another, which can lead to conflict.
Here are some ways prejudiced people may treat others:
Make fun of someone’s name, color of skin or weight
Not playing with someone because they can’t do the activity well
Teasing someone because they speak a different language
Calling people names because of their culture or hair color
Ignoring someone because he or she has a physical disability
Some prejudiced people believe in stereotypes, or opinions about other people that aren’t based on fact.
Non prejudiced people do not believe in stereotypes, and they take the time to get to know people as individuals before they decide whether they like them or not.
Non prejudiced people also:
Learn about other cultures. Learn more about celebrations, holidays, customs and food. The more you know and understand, the less likely you are to jump to conclusions.
Treat others with respect by showing them that they care about what they think and how they feel. They treat them how they would like to be – fairly.
Ask people respectfully about their differences. They carefully listen to their response without interrupting.
Don’t make fun of others because of their differences or the things they say or do.
Stand up for people. Don’t stay silent when people are being unfair to someone else. Instead, speak up and say how you feel about their words and actions.
Apologize when necessary
Appreciating diversity increases harmony and decreases conflict among people. When people learn about and learn to appreciate one another’s differences, they understand each other better. Appreciating diversity means keeping an open mind and respecting others.
What is tolerance?
Tolerance means accepting other’s’ differences.
Some words that people use when they are talking about tolerance are; acceptance, open-mindedness, and broad-mindedness.
One important way to show tolerance is by showing respect for other people’s differences, even if they are different from you. It also means treating people who think, feel or act differently from you with respect, or treated the way you would like to be.
Sometimes people do not accept others because of prejudice. Being prejudice means that a person has an unfair opinion about another person or group of people. Usually people who are prejudiced are afraid of another person’s differences. Prejudiced people may act in disrespectful ways towards others.
Some ways a person may be intolerant or disrespectful toward someone else can include using hurtful words or actions, name-calling or bullying, and even lying.
To find out more about the Department of Education’s Respect for All, visit their website at - schools.nyc.gov/school-life/school-environment/respect-for-all
This week is also Random Acts of Kindness Week, a week to celebrate the small things we all do for one another and our students that make a difference. What better way to show Respect For All than by doing Random Acts of Kindness?
Click on the link below to find out more about Random Acts of Kindness