Scotch Elementary Principal James Scrivo talks to third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students Oct. 17 at the school prior to the No Place for Hate program by the Anti- Defamation League Michigan.

Scotch Elementary Principal James Scrivo talks to third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students Oct. 17 at the school prior to the No Place for Hate program by the Anti- Defamation League Michigan.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Scotch Elementary to become ‘No Place for Hate’

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 1, 2018

 Kristin Jager, ADL Michigan education director, asks students to participate in a standing survey. The whole room stood when Jager said, “Stand if you have ever heard someone being called a name.”

Kristin Jager, ADL Michigan education director, asks students to participate in a standing survey. The whole room stood when Jager said, “Stand if you have ever heard someone being called a name.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Scotch Elementary School is working to become a “No Place for Hate” school.

The nationwide initiative encourages students to stand up against bullying and the biased treatment of others.

The Anti-Defamation League of Michigan — headquartered in West Bloomfield — kicked off the initiative Oct. 17 at the school with an assembly.

Over the next eight months, the school will host three projects that celebrate diversity and inclusion, ADL Michigan Education Director Kristin Jager said.

“In a time filled with so much divisive rhetoric filling the airwaves, this impressive school is embracing togetherness and creating a welcoming place for all kids to learn,” Jager said in an email.

The self-directed program offers a website to help all involved with improving and initiating a better school climate.

To be designated as a No Place for Hate, a school must complete a needs assessment, form a No Place for Hate committee, sign a Resolution of Respect, design and implement three schoolwide anti-bias or bullying prevention activities, and more.

Scotch Elementary School Principal James Scrivo said that ADL Michigan reached out to him to see if he would be interested in becoming a No Place for Hate school.

“We are a national showcase school for Capturing Kids’ Hearts — that ties in with our social contract, and No Place for Hate sounded like a real simple answer,” Scrivo said.

The school was nominated for a national award for taking part in the Capturing Kids’ Hearts initiative, designed to make students safer at school. Scotch Elementary School won the Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Award for the 2017-18 school year.

The initiative is a conscious effort to make the school an emotionally safe and connected place for students, staff and parents to come together. The Flippen Group is the organization that started the Capturing Kids’ Hearts initiative.

Jager said that it’s pretty exciting to work with Scotch Elementary.

“When they complete projects, ADL will designate them as a No Place for Hate school,” she said.

Scotch Elementary School fifth-grader Brooklyn Randall said she thinks the program is positive.

“I think it’s a great way to help interact with students and teachers and not have any hate in the schools or negativity,” she said.

Randall, who is on the school’s student council, said that the council makes sure that all students are doing what they are supposed to regarding the initiative.

“It is a great way to make sure that schools are bully free and that we have a zero tolerance for any bullying behavior,” she said.

Jager said that the No Place for Hate initiative started 30 years ago as a public service of the national ADL New York office and “grew from there.”

“And people wanted to incorporate some of the work they were hearing and doing. … The schools wanted to take it the next step further.”

The ADL offers anti-bias workshops for teachers, students and parents.

“We also have a Words to Action program, a program we deliver specifically for Jewish day schools and synagogues on addressing issues on anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist, anti-Israel.”

Carolyn Normandin, the regional director of ADL Michigan, said it is “remarkable” that Scotch Elementary School would raise their hands and say “we are No Place for Hate, and stopping hate in its tracks. … When young students can stand up and say, ‘We are not going to tolerate hate,’ that is the kind of thing that mends my heart.”

Normandin said that education is an important part of ADL Michigan; the entity has noticed an “uptick” in anti-Semitism, and programs like No Place for Hate can be one of many tools used to combat negativity.

Scrivo said the Scotch Elementary students are willing to do the work and that the No Place for Hate program makes them promise to do their best to treat everyone fairly, “to be kind to everyone,” even if they are not like them. “If I see someone hurt or bullying, I’ll tell the teacher. Everyone should be safe and happy in school.”

For more information, visit www.wbsd.org/scotches.

Staff Writer Maddie Forshee contributed to this report.

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