We all know the story of “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” and how he was suddenly plucked from obscurity into the annals of history by Santa.  However, if you really listen to the lyrics of the song or watch the movie, you may notice some familiar themes that pop out to you as a school counselor.

Themes from “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer”

Dancer and his pals were the leaders of the popular crowd and they set the bar of social acceptance in the North Pole (i.e. everyone must have a black nose to participate in the Reindeer Games).

No red noses allowed at the Reindeer Games!

When Rudolph was born, he was born with a disability that made him stand out from his peers (eventually when the disability was revealed, he was bullied and harassed by his peers).

This kid looks weird!

Initially, Rudolph’s parents tried to hide and ignore his disability in order to receive acceptance by the popular crowd.  (No IEPs here!)

Lets put some dirt on his nose and no one will ever know the truth!

When Rudolph’s disability was revealed, Rudolph and his family were ostracized by Santa and his coach, Comet. 

“No one is allowed to play with a red nosed reindeer!”

Santa never addressed the teasing, taunting, or shunning by the reindeer.  He acted like everything was okay; therefore, he was definitely setting himself up for a lawsuit!

Santa and his reindeer couldn’t pull the sleigh in the fog and became desperate for a solution.  They were forced to accept Rudolph’s help because they did not want to be on the news for not delivering gifts to all the “good little boys and girls”.

Santa actually forced Rudolph to guide the sleigh and never even offered an apology for his workers’ harassment!

“Get over it kid…this is your chance to make it big!”

The end result of the story comes out positively for the reindeer and his family!  Rudolph was a resilient reindeer who decided not hold a grudge against his peer group and goes into the history books as a peacemaker with other pioneers like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Fortunately, Rudolph did not get a hunter’s rifle and take revenge on all those who persecuted him…that would then be a different kind of movie!

So you see, Rudolph could be your typical high school student experiencing peer name-calling and staff bystanding!  Although Christmas is over, the story of Rudolph can encourage you to do something that Santa did not do…educate your staff and students about the dangers of name-calling in your school.  In January, GLSEN and its sponsors, have established No Name-Calling Week in schools. 

What is No Name-Calling Week?

Inspiration for No Name-Calling Week emerged from the popular book called “The Misfits” by James Howe and has been growing in popularity each year.  Even if you have never organized a No Name-Calling Week Event before, GLSEN provides school staff with the tools to incorporate NNCW in schools.  

Download the NNCW first time kit for your schools.The kit includes how to get your whole faculty involved, a list of activities, letters to parents, and a suggested  time line. This year’s campaign will occur during the week of January 19th-23rd.

How Do You Get Started?

Not sure your staff and students will participate?  Do you need evidence to show your staff and students that there is a problem with bullying and name-calling in your school? Do you want to know how much of your students are impacted by bullying and name-calling?  Prior to the event, give students this student survey.  From the survey, map the location of bullying events in your school for administration and staff.

Even if you do not have a lot of time to plan activities, you can still make a difference in your school. Check out the 10 Simple Ways to Participate in NNCW. Also, empower your students by giving them tips on how to become an upstander.

Promoting Your Event

Classroom Guidance Ideas

Even if you cannot plan a week long campaign, consider going into the classrooms to conduct lessons with your students.  GLSEN and Not In Our School provides several lesson plans for educators.

Are You Part of the In-Crowd?
Exploring social hierarchies and popularity in high school.

Beauty is Skin Deep
Name calling based on physical appearance.

Blow the Whistle on Name-Calling
Help students develop strategies for recognizing and self-monitoring name-calling in personal fitness class.

Learning About Labels
Students recognize how name-calling is often based on stereotypes.

Lights, Camera, Actions
Bring attention to bullying and name-calling by using film.  Check out the Not In Our School Action Video Kit.

Shirts of Empowerment
Students create shirts that may be ripped, torn, or painted with names like geek, stupid, retard, or other offensive names.  Students wear the shirts for a day and reflect on the response from their peers.

We Are All Different Alike
Students will discuss the reality of biases and how people make assumptions from stereotypes.

What’s In a Name?
Students will identify the dangers of casual name-calling on others.

Take It to the Next Level

If you have been participating in NNCW or want to “blow it up”, consider going to the next level.

Creative Expression

Submit your school-wide displays featuring the message of No Name-Calling Week by using this year’s theme of “Celebrate Kindness”. Entries can be submitted starting in January.

Download the We Will Generation “Student-to-Student” Curriculum

Recruit and train students to teach other students how to make a difference at your school.  This can be year round!

What is Going on in Other Countries?

Like America, other nations are making a difference in their schools.  Check out some of the campaigns in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Australia-March 20, 2015

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Bullying. No Way!

Canada-November 15-21, 2015

Bullying Awareness Week

England-November 16-20, 2015

Anti-bullying Week

International-February 27, 2015

Stand Up to Bullying Day

Please feel free to share your plans for NNCW!


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