There’s No Place for Hate at Wantagh Middle School

There’s No Place for Hate at Wantagh Middle School

For the second consecutive year, Wantagh Middle School students paused on March 26 to imagine a world without hate during No Place for Hate Day. Throughout the school day, students participated in content-based activities where they ruminated and discussed tolerance, acceptance and kindness toward others in school and the global community. This year’s theme highlighted the importance of equity in religion, gender, race and culture and the qualities of being fair and impartial.   

English language arts teacher Kristin Piciullo, who directed the event, explained that lessons about these important concepts were infused into every aspect of the curriculum with videos, reading material, physical education activities, artwork and meaningful discussion.  

“The students did not simply touch on the concepts of kindness, acceptance, equity and tolerance, but were instead immersed in these topics all day long,” Ms. Piciullo said. “It’s a multi-faceted approach that had the school community thinking throughout the day.” 

Wantagh Middle School was recognized for the past three consecutive years by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the nation’s 1,600 No Place for Hate Schools. This prestigious designation was accomplished through the sponsorship of activities that promote acceptance, tolerance and kindness on campus and by sending a clear message throughout the school that all students have a place to belong.  

During advisory periods, faculty discussed with students about what they believe equity is and then provided a definition. English language arts classes delved into the representation of female roles in children’s literature and movies. Social studies classes addressed stereotypes and watched a “First Impressions” video, engaging in conversation about how to deter the formation of stereotypes.  

Art, home economics and technology students explored the concept of “advantage.” After being given bagged supplies, some with more materials than others, to use in making a poster for No Place for Hate Day, students discussed how they felt upon noticing that others had fewer or more materials than they did. They also discussed how resources aided them in finishing the assignments and whether it would be fair to judge everyone’s final product equally. 

Physical education students explored physical disadvantage or “ableism” while performing myriad activities by only using one hand. There were also discussions about celebratory months, the positive impact of inclusive songs like “We Are the World” and women’s contributions to the field of science.   

During the start of the day, students also took a pledge to be kind, tolerant and accepting of others and to promote equity.