Norfolk Public Schools Celebrate Unity Day in October October is National Bullying Prevention Month
Students at the Freeman-Kennedy School also wore orange clothing on Wednesday, Oct. 21, in recognition of Unity Day.
Norfolk Public Schools celebrated Unity Day on Wednesday, October 21.
Unity Day is an annual event held during the month of October in commemoration of National Bullying Prevention Month. National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign, founded in 2006 by the PACER Center’s National Bullying Prevention Center, aimed to unite people around the world in an effort to educate and raise awareness around bullying prevention. Unity Day is the campaign’s signature event that was started in 2011 and is now celebrated around the world.
In observation of Unity Day, students, staff and teachers throughout Norfolk Public Schools wore orange clothing on Oct. 21 as a way to demonstrate the district’s unified message promoting kindness, inclusion and bullying prevention. As part of the event, artwork encouraging inclusion and kindness was also hung up throughout the Freeman-Kennedy and H. Olive Day schools and students participated in lessons aimed to teach them more about Unity Day and its themes.
At the Freeman-Kennedy School, students participated in a Unity Day lesson during art classes ahead of Wednesday’s event. As part of their lesson, students created a piece of artwork to be included in a school mural promoting unity. The mural can be found in the Freeman-Kennedy’s administration/library hallway.
“It’s our goal at the Freeman-Kennedy School to create healthier communities beginning with our students being taught the basic principles of kindness, acceptance and inclusion,” said Freeman-Kennedy School Principal Lisa Altham-Hickey. “Through events such as Unity Day, we have the opportunity to promote these positive ideologies through fun events for our students such as everyone wearing a certain color and participating in specially-themed art projects.”
At the H. Olive Day School, School Adjustment Counselor Carolyn Kelley created lessons for teachers to deliver to students in the days leading up to Unity Day. As part of the lessons, students learned what unity is, what the day represents and about positive bullying prevention behaviors, and decorated paper t-shirts with a word that is aligned with the theme of unity.
Students, staff and teachers at the H. Olive Day School each signed a letter forming the word ‘UNITY’ as part of a school-wide mural. ‘U’ was signed by second grade students, ‘N’ was signed by first grade students, ‘I’ was signed by preschool students, ‘T’ was signed by kindergarten students and the ‘Y’ letter was signed by staff and teachers. Staff unveiled the mural Wednesday morning upon students’ arrival to school.
“Beginning at our students’ earliest ages we focus on fostering a community of individuals who lead with acceptance and inclusion,” H. Olive Day School Principal Linda Balfour said. “Unity Day is a special event that reinforces our previously-established school culture of community, caring, understanding and empathy while tying into our ongoing social-emotional learning initiatives throughout the year.”
Added Superintendent Dr. Ingrid Allardi, “At Norfolk Public Schools we put a strong emphasis on putting an end to bullying and that starts with teaching our students about how acts of kindness, such as including someone, can have a lasting positive impact on that person. It was great to see our school community come together and all wear orange in observation of Unity Day.”
About PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center
Founded in 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center actively leads social change, so that bullying is no longer considered an accepted childhood rite of passage. PACER provides innovative resources for students, parents, educators, and others, and recognizes bullying as a serious community issue that impacts education, physical and emotional health, and the safety and well-being of students.