Belton ISD strives to make schools a 'No Place for Hate' zone

Posted at 5:54 AM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 08:04:32-04

Belton Independent School District is working to create an inclusive learning environment for all students in which their unique differences are celebrated.

In an effort to do so, the district has collaborated with the Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organization aimed at fighting all forms of hate in America. 

In addition to putting their administrators, instructional coaches and counselors through specialized training, the district is also encouraging their schools to participate in the ADL's "No Place for Hate" initiative.

"It's a program really for K-12 schools that is designed to help us create respectful and inclusive environments at school, where all students feel welcome and everyone is respectful of individual differences and we celebrate unique-ness," Guidance Counselor Jennifer Whitley said.

Thirteen campuses across the district are currently benefiting from participation in the program aimed to help schools create a more positive atmosphere.

Leon Heights Elementary School is one of those campuses and as a part of the "No Place for Hate" initiative, the elementary hosted a Pajamas for Peace day on Thursday to remind students about the importance of having a hate-free environment.

While students were happy to go to school in comfortable fashion, the pajama day was only one of many projects students at the campus have put together to spread their kind message.

"We made self-portraits and we used multi-cultural crayons to match your skin colors and we did 'I am unique' statements," Whitley said.

In addition to the "unique statements," the Kind Kids Club at Leon Heights Elementary is also in charge of putting together a "No Place for Hate" video.

During the 2016-2017 school year, seven Belton ISD campuses accomplished the "No Place for Hate" annual designation.

For a school to receive a designation they have to first form a "No Place for Hate" committee, they design and implement three school-wide anti-bias or anti-bullying prevention activities.

Once that happens schools are then eligible to receive a "No Place for Hate" banner.

The district said:

"We look forward to celebrating their efforts when the ADL presents individual campuses with their official "No Place for Hate" Banners."

Starting Friday, the 2017-2018 school year designations will be given out.

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