[EDEQUITY] Helping Children Become Change Agents in Schools

From: Wotorson, Michael (wotom@ADL.ORG)
Date: Thu Jul 18 2002 - 12:03:59 EDT

Contact: Michael Wotorson (202) 261-4617


Washington, D.C., July 15, 2002 ... Partners Against Hate, a national youth
violence education and prevention project, has announced the release of a
new guide designed to provide young people with the tools they need to
address bias and hate in their schools and community. Peer Leadership:
Helping Youth Become Change Agents in Their Schools and Communities is a
resource for individuals and groups interested in empowering youth to
prevent bias-motivated behaviors and hate crimes.
"This guide will encourage positive discussion regarding diversity as well
as teach youth to share ideas in a respectful manner," says Bill
Modzeleski, Director, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program at the US
Department of Education. "We must remind our children that harassment of
and violence
toward any individual for any reason is never acceptable."
 Partners Against Hate is a collaborative effort of the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL), the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF), and the
Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence (CPHV), and is funded by the
U.S.Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention and the U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools
        "Without an opportunity to nurture and develop leadership potential
in young people, we miss a chance for teaching them about building a
healthy celebration of diversity and rejecting bias in all of its forms,"
Michael Wotorson, Partners Against Hate Project Director. "Given that
young people are often the most influential agents for change in schools,
guide outlines ways in which students' leadership potential can be
strengthened and developed so they can take the lead in the fight against
youth-initiated bias."

- MORE -
        Participation in most school and community leadership development
opportunities for young people is often limited to those youth already
holding leadership positions. While many students who do participate
demonstrate leadership ability, the criteria for election to these
positions are often associated with social popularity. The new resource
ways in which other students, who may not necessarily fit into the popular
mold, can expand their own leadership potential and make a positive impact
in the school climate.
        The guide includes an overview of the current climate in U.S.
schools and a review of current research on bullying, harassment, and
bias-motivated behavior. Detailed information on peer leadership program
implementation, descriptions of a wide variety of peer leadership program
models, and information on the Partners Against Hate Peer Leadership
Training Model are also included.
        The Peer Leadership guide is available for download on-line at

"Wotorson, Michael"

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