No name-calling at FD schools

Fort Dodge Community School District schools has been celebrating No Name-Calling Week.

“This year is the 10th anniversary of No Name-Calling Week,” Kim Bodholdt, Fort Dodge Middle School counselor, said. “The theme for this year is Celebrate Kindness, which really goes along with our Rachel’s Challenge idea of sharing kindness and starting a chain reaction of kindness in our schools.”

FDMS has done various No Name-Calling activities throughout the week, Bodholdt said.

“We made an area in the common area of the building, by the lunch room, where we put Post-it notes on a big sign that says, ‘Need a pick-me-up? Take one.’ And the Post-it notes were each covered with a kindness saying or kindness quote, or compliment,” she said. “Students who are feeling down or need a pick-me-up can take one of those notes with them. It’s just kind of a way to think more about being positive.”

She added, “Every day we have had all of the Post-it notes taken.”

Fort Dodge Senior High is also participating in No Name-Calling Week, Trista Thompson, FDSH counselor, said.

“It is being implemented at the high school through Dodger Time,” she said. “We did it last week to prepare for this week. This week we focused on Martin Luther King Jr. But last week, the Dodger Time teachers had No-Name Calling activities and discussions with their students.”

At FDSH, students learned about the impact of name-calling.

“It was things such as, what types of names are being called at the high school? Why do you think people call names? What impact can it have on people when they’re called names? And what can we do about it as a school and a community to prevent name calling?” Thompson said.

According to Thompson, this instruction is important.

“Sometimes people throw out names that are really hurtful, and they don’t understand how hurtful they can be,” she said.

At the middle school level, students have also been affected by name-calling.

“In some situations, it might be something that’s done just in passing, not in understanding the hurtful words they say to another student. And, unfortunately, maybe there’s been other situations where it’s been more intentional,” Bodholdt said. “We kind of rely on our students to tell us about those incidents so that we can talk to the students and encourage them to be more kind.”

Name-calling, Bodholdt said, can be damaging.

“We never dismiss those incidents of name-calling,” she said. “We always look into it more to figure out if it’s a situation where it’s an ongoing conflict between students or what exactly is going on, so we can help our environment at our school to be more positive and a place where everybody wants to come to school.”

Bodholdt said a positive climate is important in a school environment.

“I personally feel like Rachel’s Challenge is something that can help our school in a lot of ways,” she said. “Just sharing the No Name-Calling Week and promoting it in that way is one more way we can focus on being kind to each other.”