Thank you, Melania!

Operation Respect: Combating Bullying, Bias and HatredToday, we would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to Melania Trump, for speaking out against bullying, and launching a campaign to combat this pervasive problem in schools throughout the country. We are grateful to the first lady for utilizing her platform to address this issue and for striving to make a positive impact on children’s lives.

Too many of our children live in serious emotional pain every single day and we need to intervene. According to the American Association of School Psychologists, 160,000 children in America stay home from school each day because they are afraid to endure another day of bullying or verbal and physical abuse by their peers. Students who do not attend school fall behind academically and suffer socially and emotionally.

Students who engage in bullying are at risk of substance abuse and violent behavior. Bullying prevention is also crime prevention. According to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, boys who bully are more likely to bring a weapon to school and more likely to commit crimes later in life.

Since its inception, Operation Respect has been devoted to creating safe, respectful and compassionate environments for children and youth, where bullying and ridicule are much less likely to occur. The implementation of our classroom-based program, Don’t Laugh at Me, has made a positive impact on students’ behavior and their feelings of safety among their peers.

We understand that the success of any anti-bullying initiative necessitates multiple interventions by teachers, parents, and administrators, and Operation Respect is here to support these efforts with our Don’t Laugh at Me Program, professional and staff development opportunities, peer mediation programs, restorative practices, songwriting workshops and assembly programs.

We believe that it is our collective responsibility to keep our children safe, to nurture and care for them so they may thrive, and grow up to be kind, positive and productive citizens.

Thank you, Melania, for caring about the most vulnerable among us, our children, and for encouraging everyone to be kind and compassionate. We all need to be the change we want to see in the world. The Children are Listening.

Elizabeth Kolodny, Director of Programs and Operations, Operation Respect

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