Bullying is an ongoing issue in schools all across America. Yeshiva of Central Queens has taken steps to address this vital issue head-on by teaching tolerance through a variety of programs.The programs will include the faculty and students working together to create a safe environment for every student to learn in, as well as teach students how to problem-solve in a healthy way.
Two programs are being given tremendous attention in the yeshiva. One of them, “Mix It Up” teaches members of the school community to embrace respect and inclusiveness, key to ending bullying.
The kickoff for this program was the nationwide “Mix It Up at Lunch Day” where students are asked to leave their comfort zones and connect with other students they may not otherwise interact with.
During the start of the newest program at YCQ, the junior high school had a serious assembly on ways to maintain a culture of respect and tolerance at the school.
Each grade participated in separate sessions on how bullying can be prevented through kindness. The students were asked to sign a contract that they will work on acts of kindness towards others. In a d’var Torah, Rabbi Mark Landsman connected this topic to the parsha and to certain mitzvot.
Program adviser Melissa Maisel then led an interactive presentation and shared with the students that we are in the process of becoming a “No Place for Hate” school sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. The students were introduced to the Great Kindness Challenge. Any student caught doing a random act of kindness will receive special recognition.
YCQ is focused on making a difference while continuing to help every student feel included. JHS Assistant Principal Laurie Golubtchik ended the program with a true story of how one boy was able to save a life through a random act of kindness. These programs at YCQ have attracted the interest, involvement and recognition of local and state elected officials, bringing visits to the yeshiva by state Senators Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Michael Simanowitz.