Horizon Honors Elementary School has been named a “No Place for Hate” school by the Anti-Defamation League, a designation given to a select few schools who meet the requirements of encouraging inclusion for all students.
The students celebrated the designation with a special assembly on April 11. There they presented all the activities the school has participated in over the school year that has made their school a friendlier place including a school supply drive for the Clothes Cabin; new student lunches; Mix It Up lunches, where students are encouraged to sit with someone new; Operation Gratitude, where students collected treats for American troops; Red Ribbon Week, pledging to be drug free; holiday globes, blankets and an ornament drive for Phoenix Children’s Hospital; a holiday food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank; Friendship Day at Pecos Senior Center; random acts of kindness; and more.
“We decided to go after this because we wanted our school to be safe from any kind of bullying,” said Mackenzie Visnansky, 11, student body president at Horizon Honors Elementary. “We wanted to make our school a safe place.”
To receive the designation the school had to form a coalition, adopt a resolution, and implement a number of projects promoting respect for differences. Many of the projects the school did are things they’ve done for years.
“It’s bigger than No Place For Hate for us,” said Laura Wanstreet, principal. “It’s really about our values and our beliefs and our community, so the program fits well for us. A lot of it we were already doing. As I looked up there a lot of it is stuff we’ve done for years. Seeing it all together it does look like a lot.”
Horizon Honors Secondary School also received the designation this year. They received the designation for the first time last year. It’s a designation schools are encouraged to go for annually.
“It’s not that difficult when a school understands the importance of being inclusive and safe for all of their students,” said Melissa Medvin, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League. “When they make a commitment to that, the requirements come naturally, just like they did here… This school just has a culture already established. I think they looked at what they already do and they built on it and they added more students to their efforts.”
No Place for Hate was designed to empower communities, schools and college campuses to challenge intolerance, bullying and indifference through action and education. There are currently 22 schools in Arizona working toward the designation and thousands more across the nation.
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