Accept and Respect Week, 2012 by KELLY AMSHEY, Assistant Principal East Rockford Middle School East Rockford Middle School held the second annual Accept and Respect Week in March. The purpose of the theme week is to encourage students and staff to come together and promote a positive environment in the building. This year’s week was planned by a committee of staff and parents. Student suggestions were also important to the planning process. Each day had a theme and a challenge for students and staff. The week was kicked off with the help of students, who, along with the entire staff, wore shirts with the phrase “Be nice.” Those students also filled the halls with posters, and some handed out suckers to their classmates to build excitement. Wednesday was another highlight of the week, with the theme Celebrate Diversity. Sixth- and seventh-grade students were treated to popcorn and a movie, watching “Remember the Titans” in the gym. Students also played diversity bingo and engaged in discussion about the movie and other issues related to acceptance and respect for one another. During lunches, students and staff were invited to show their commitment to respect one another by signing a large banner, which now hangs proudly in the halls of East Rockford Middle School. Students and staff that signed the banner also received a silicone bracelet that reads “No Place for Hate,” to show the alignment with the school’s initiative to become a No Place for Hate school, where acceptance and tolerance are promoted and celebrated throughout the year. Feedback from students and staff suggest that the week was successful and will remain part of the framework for encouraging a positive culture in the school so that all students can feel accepted and appreciated.