Be There: "No Place for Hate" - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Be There: "No Place for Hate"

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By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Teaching fairness and acceptance at an early age can really have a positive influence on a child's life. In this week's "Be There" we see how an entire school is doing just that.

Downtown Elementary School has recently been named a "No Place for Hate" school, only the second if its kind in Muscogee County.

We were there when the school received the honor and they told us what this title means for the student body.

By unrolling the banner, it was made official: Downtown Elementary School is "No Place for Hate".

The school's math coordinator Staci Allen said, "We had to do several activities that we had to submit to the anti-defamation league showing that we wanted to become a no place for hate. We had to get the parents involved, the community involved, kids involved."

In an unveiling ceremony, students gave speeches about why this is an important exercise for the school.

Fifth grade student Edwina Basilio told News Leader Nine, "I included reasons why people bully other people and some of them are because they want to make you less powerful, make you less confident, and some people so it just to follow the crowd."

They also shared what the honor means to them. Ana Daniels, who is also a 5th grade student at Downtown Magnet Academy, said, "It means a lot to me because it makes me feel that the school is safe and I'm not afraid to come here because I know everyone here is nice."

The Anti-Defamation League sponsors the program and Downtown Elementary had to meet certain criteria to apply.

Allen explained, "We had the kids write bullying poems. We had a no name calling week. We had the student and the parents sign the promises for no place for hate, to include everybody, and it's just been great since we started."

Making sure hate is not allowed in the school will have a lasting impact on teachers and students alike.

"Now I feel very safe in my school because I don't have to be afraid and I don't need to be scared about someone calling me a name," said 5th grader Sydney Koch.

"No Place for Hate" is a national program that creates a safe environment for students and the kids really had a grasp on what that truly means for each of them.


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