Despite pandemic-related shutdowns, this is the largest number of designations ADL SD has ever awarded to local K-12 schools in thirty years. No Place for Hate is an ADL partnership program that supports K-12 schools to maintain a climate where students of all identities feel safe, respected and have a sense of belonging.
ADL (Anti-Defamation League) San Diego announced that 76 schools have earned their No Place for Hate designation for the 2019-20 school year. Despite the challenges of distance learning as the academic year draws to a close, many San Diego County schools remained committed to completing the year-long program. In fact, a number of participating campuses utilized ADL's digital lesson plans to help students expand their understanding of how the Coronavirus pandemic has contributed to increasing racism against people of Asian descent, and what students can do to fight such bigotry.
Kelsey Greenberg Young, ADL San Diego education director, said that students have been instrumental in seeing their school complete their No Place for Hate designations despite their physical distance. "We have had student leadership hosting virtual meetings with their committees to see that this work continues, sending in their ideas for what they have planned for kicking off the 2020-21 school year, and requesting to join county-wide coordinator calls to brainstorm ideas."
Schools throughout San Diego County participated in this year's No Place for Hate program, with the majority hailing from San Diego Unified and Poway Unified School Districts.
Mariana Akins, Poway Unified student board member and Rancho Bernardo High graduating senior, urged schools to continue their commitments to fighting hate: "During these times of great tension and disconnect, it's so important for students to learn a variety of perspectives so we can come together. It's harder to hate something you understand, and once students understand, it will be easier for them to love people for who they are. No Place for Hate teaches students these essential lessons."
A number of independent schools, such as San Diego Jewish Academy, will also be awarded with a 2019-20 designation No Place for Hate designation.
Sarah Greenstein, counselor and No Place for Hate coordinator at San Diego Jewish Academy, says that the need to offer creative pathways for community building and collective compassion has become increasingly important during the pandemic. "Our commitment runs deep to creating a campus environment and culture that is resoundingly No Place for Hate. As our young people navigate their academic, recreational and social worlds almost exclusively online, the No Place for Hate program gives us relevant and meaningful avenues for exploring how we treat each other both in person and on the screen. It helps us to shine a critical flashlight on the power of words, images, and all sorts of media in contributing to an online culture of caring and acceptance rather than hate or negativity."
Other districts with designated schools include San Dieguito Union High School District, Chula Vista Elementary School District, Oceanside Unified School District, San Marcos Unified School District, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, and South Bay Union School District.
Joe Prosapio, principal of Daly Academy in Chula Vista Elementary School District, shared why his school chose to keep up this commitment during distance learning. "Working with students is always a fluid situation. Great educators always look for ways to leverage situations and experiences to help students connect and learn. This COVID-19 situation is no different. It's just as important now to continue the No Place for Hate work, possibly more important. There is misinformation, people are looking for someone and something to blame, there is uncertainty, and 'social distancing.' This produces fear, but can also produce great hope if we continue to teach the No Place for Hate ideals. Students need to continue to accept others for their similarities as well as their differences and show compassion for all at this time and, as educators, we are in a unique position to demonstrate and teach them what that looks like."
In partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, Spring Valley Academy teacher Kelly Pallitto was also honored with the No Place for Hate Leader of the Year award for leadership of her school community in upholding the No Place for Hate Pledge and commitment. She shared that despite the challenges of virtual schooling, No Place for Hate remains necessary and relevant. "It's relatively easy to teach and have a collaborative discussion about acceptance, tolerance, and the consequences of hate and stereotypes, when you're sitting in a very diverse classroom, and everyone realizes they (students and staff) work and socialize and collaborate together everyday. It's a totally different challenge when we are all in our homes, with our not-so-diverse families, and we look deeply into the current events. There is so much hate, and yet so much coming together right now. This moment in history is perfect for teaching about our human strengths when we put adversity aside and work together."
Registration for the 2020-2021 No Place for Hate school year has opened for existing schools to recommit for next school year and new schools to begin this critical work with ADL San Diego.
Visit the ADL San Diego website for a full list of San Diego County's 2019-2020 Designated No Place for Hate schools.
No Place for Hate is an organizing framework and ADL partnership program for K-12 schools committed to creating sustainable change that leads to improved school climate. Participating schools incorporate ADL's anti-bias and anti-bullying resources with their existing programming to form one powerful message that all students have a place to belong. Over 1,800 schools across the country participate in No Place for Hate annually.