Kent Phoenix Academy Designated as a No Place For Hate School
On June 13, Hillary Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) attended a school assembly to announce KPA is designated as a No Place for Hate School. She presented the school with a banner and commended all students and staff for their hard work to accomplish the goals of the No Place for Hate (NPH) initiative.
This past school year, the students of Kent Phoenix Academy decided to work towards achieving the ADL designation of a No Place for Hate School. The ADL provides a “school climate improvement framework for combating bias, bullying, and hatred leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate.”
To achieve this designation, the school formed a committee responsible for leading three building-wide activities to “build inclusive and safe communities in which respect is the goal and all students can thrive,” and “send a clear, unified message that all students have a place to belong.”
The first step in working towards this designation was students attending a full-day training with the Hillary Bernstein, focusing on bias, discrimination, conflict, and resolution. At the training, the students were asked to identify the five key issues of concern at KPA. The issues were identified as: racism, LGBTQ+ acceptance, economic inequality, teacher/student relationships, and bullying. The students were then asked to come up with three building-wide activities to address these issues.
To help start these difficult conversations, the committee planned a door-decoration competition to introduce NPH and the issues at KPA. The key issues were divided among the advisory classes and each group was asked to decorate their door to spread awareness about the issues and create a better understanding of how these issues impact all students.
On May 29, the committee led a building-wide signing event for the Resolution of Respect. The Resolution of Respect (RoR) is a pledge students sign agreeing to speak out against prejudice and discrimination, reach out to support those who are targets of hate, promote respect for people, and help foster a prejudice-free school. Rashad Norris, from Highline Community College, spoke to students at the assembly about making the right choices, asking for help, and offering support to each other. He resonated with students by saying, “listen quick, talk slow.” After the assembly, each grade level was asked to sign Phoenix feathers as a way of taking the pledge. Staff members also signed feathers to show their support of the resolution. The signed feathers and a copy of the ROR now hang in the Commons.
The final activity was a follow-up survey provided by the ADL. The survey asked the student body to comment on the issues they believe are most important for the NPH committee to focus on for the 2018-2019 school year.