With an increased emphasis being placed on anti-bullying efforts and treating all students with respect, Skyline High School teachers Billie Wixom and Lynn MacAusland came up with a new way to reinforce the idea that derogatory remarks and discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated. More accurately, it is a repurposed way. The two social studies and government teachers came across a poster originally designed several years ago by the IEA’s Human and Civil Rights Committee, and modified it for use in their building.
“We personalized it and branded it with the IFEA logo,” says Wixom, who is the IFEA building representative at Skyline. “The principal loved it, and then it just took off around the district.” The small project grew organically after other schools began inquiring about the poster, which led to a presentation at a district principal’s meeting and conversations with Superintendent George Boland and IFEA President Angela Gillman.
The poster spells out quite clearly that degrading remarks about the race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion or disability of others are not acceptable. Each school has the opportunity to personalize the text based on their student’s grade level and other factors. “The teachers really embraced it—the message is right there in front of everyone,” says MacAusland. “Now when students come into the classroom they feel protected, and their needs can be met,” adds Wixom.
Administrators and parents are also on board with the poster and the message it carries. “It integrates well with the state-mandated training about bullying, and it helps our staff recognize diversity,” says Skyline principal Aaron Jarnigan. “It is easier to educate when students feel involved, respected and safe,” he says.