MORRIS COUNTY — The Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program aims to empower students and community members to improve school climate. As the ADL states, “With public displays of hate on the rise, it is more important than ever for schools to commit to programs that clearly define expectations in behavior for all members of the community. Whether you are a student,educator, or family member, you have a role to play in combating bias and bullying as a means to stop the escalation of hate.”
Both Hanover Park High School and Whippany Park High School have once again been named Gold Star No Place for Hate schools for 2019-2020. Gold Star status is earned by completing four or more school-wide activities of unity and inclusion, starting with the signing of the Resolution of Respect, which states:
I will seek to gain understanding of those who are different from myself, speak out
against prejudice and discrimination, support those who are targets of hate, respect
people and help foster a prejudice-free school, believe that one person can make a
difference—no person can be an “innocent” bystander when it comes to opposing hate,
and recognize that respecting individual dignity and promoting intergroup harmony are
the responsibilities of all students.
Supervised by E.R.A.S.E. club advisors Sue Apicella at Hanover Park and Sibila Dubac at
Whippany Park, each school held anti-bias and bullying prevention activities, including a
Kindness Rocks project in September where incoming freshmen painted messages of kindness and inspiration on river stones. These rocks were scattered around each campus and provide an uplifting affirmation that we are not alone.
In October, both schools sponsored Mix It Up at Lunch; an activity in which students were encouraged to sit with different social groups during their lunch periods. This intermingling advocated student empathy and unity. In addition, both schools participated in the Week of Respect, in which all teachers presented lessons that related to the topics of anti-bullying and acceptance. Hanover Park’s E.R.A.S.E. club also visited the students at Stonybrook Elementary School in Rockaway and provided them with tools and strategies to become upstanders within their school and community.
Despite the sudden closure of the school in March due to the coronavirus, each school’s
E.R.A.S.E. club has committed to continue the No Place for Hate initiative and hold virtual Day of Silence and #USvsHate activities.
This year’s No Place for Hate designations mark the sixth time each school has been honored, and the fifth time both Hanover Park and Whippany Park have received Gold Star designations.
To commemorate these achievements, banners will be displayed in both schools. At Hanover Park Regional High School District our actions speak loudly and match our words; we truly demonstrate that we are a No Place for Hate.