Magazine article Techniques

Congress Honors Operation Respect

Magazine article Techniques

Congress Honors Operation Respect

Article excerpt

Operation Respect's free, classroom-based program "Don't Laugh at Me" is being used by family and consumer sciences educators across the nation to help create schools that are "ridicule-free zones." This past May, in recognition of the program's efforts in sparking a national movement to ensure that children grow up in a safe, respectful and bully-free school environment, Congress unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging the importance of the work of Operation Respect.

The nonprofit educational organization was founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and was inspired by Yarrow's song, "Don't Laugh at Me." The program uses music, video and research-based character-building curricula. According to a recent study by the American Medical Association, more than 30 percent of America's children report that they are either being bullied or are bullies themselves, and the American Association for School Psychologists reports that approximately 160,000 children stay home from school each day for fear of emotional or physical violence.

"The school shootings in places like Columbine, Paducah and Santee shocked the nation, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of the bigger problem," says Yarrow. "The teasing is everywhere, starts in the early grades and can be merciless. It can lead to depression and even suicide. And when children are scared, how can you expect them to do their best in school?"

The "Don't Laugh at Me" kits are produced and sent to educators free of charge, courtesy of the McGraw-Hill Companies, Operation Respect's main sponsor. …

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