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Suicide Prevention: Safe Activity
Keep Suicide Prevention Fresh With Classroom Activities
Organizing a No Name-Calling Week

Get Everyone Involved

Guidance Staff
Support Staff
Library Staff
Physical Education Staff

"Suicide Prevention" Activity 7-12th Grade
Teacher's Guide: Suicide (Grades 9 to 12) - KidsHealth in the Classroom
A Suicide Prevention Lesson Plan for Grades 9 to 12
Directing Change Lesson Plan: Suicide Prevention
Thirteen Reasons Why Lesson Plan
Suicide Prevention in HIigh School
Thoughts of Suicide? | Learn the Warning Signs

Take a Self-Check Quiz?

Middle School | Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Tip Sheet for School-based Suicide Prevention Activities
How to choose an Educational Video
Resources for suicide prevention


Suicide Prevention: Safe Activity


Students will understand what suicide is

  • Students will identify possible warning signs
  • Students will gain an understanding of suicide prevention methods
  • Students will learn how to respond in potential suicidal situations
  • Students will know who to talk to and where to get help

Materials Needed:

  • Around 25 plastic or styrofoam cups
  • Classroom set of the “Everyone Teach One Facts” (Activity CM12 -1)
  • “Suicide Warnings Self-Quiz” (Activity CM12-2)
  • “Suicide Scenario-Calvin” (Activity CM12-3)
  • “Suicide Scenario-Sam” (Activity CM12-4)
  • Classroom set of “Suicide Prevention Brochures” (Activity CM12-5)

Special Note: It is imperative that you invite several Community Resource Professionals such as a Crisis Specialist or Mental Health Professional to aid in the presentation of this subject matter. This lesson plan in its entirety should be shared with these individuals PRIOR TO addressing your group. Make sure that you have a plan and immediate means for providing assistance to a student needing help.

Icebreaker/Introduction Activity: Overwhelmed!

Note: The facilitators should practice this short activity before presenting it to the group. Facilitator 1: Begin by introducing yourself. Then place one cup upside down on a table in front of you and say “Today I will be represented by this cup. I am this cup.” Then continue on to mention the following statements. Each time you mention a new statement, try to add another cup to the top of the cup, in the opposite direction so that it is stacked. At some point, the cups may begin falling off but just keep trying to pile them on:

  • “I just moved recently to a new neighborhood. It is alright, but I still don’t have many
  • friends.” (Add one cup)
  • “I did make one friend though. She is pretty nice, but my mom thinks she is trouble because we got caught skipping school last week. I never skipped school at my old school.” (Add one cup)
  • “My new friend took me to her house and we tried some of her dad’s alcohol from his alcohol cabinet.” (Add one cup)
  • “We didn’t get drunk or anything, we just tried it but my parents were so mad that they grounded me for a whole month and told me I can’t hang out with her again!” (Add one cup)
  • “And my parents have been fighting so much lately!” (Add one cup)
  • “I can barely think at home. My grades are slipping and the teachers think I am stupid, know it.” (Add one cup)
  • “I don’t even like myself anymore.” (Add one cup)
  • “I just don’t think I can take it anymore.” (Add one cup…and then let all of the cups fall, if they haven’t already.)

Follow-Up: Facilitator 2: “In this short activity, we got to see first-hand what happens to people who feel as though they can’t deal with everything that is coming at them. School work, friends, families, and all the stresses that come with these things can really leave you wondering how you can handle everything and stop the pain. Today we will be learning about suicide. We will be discussing possible warning signs, prevention methods, how to respond in a potential suicidal situation, who to talk to, and where to get help.”


Activity: Each One Teach One

Prior to the class, take the “Every One Teach One Facts” handout (Activity CM12-1) and cut it into individual fact strips. Distribute them among members of the class or group. Repeat facts for larger groups. Instruct the group to do the following:

  • “You have received a strip of paper with a fact relating to suicide. Read and become familiar with your fact.
  • When I say “go,” stand up from your seat and find other people to individually share your fact with. Take time to listen carefully to the fact that they have to share with you.
  • Only share your fact with one person at a time, not with a group. Move carefully through the group trying to reach as many people individually as possible with your fact.
  • When you see my hand raised in the air, please raise yours as well and stop where you are in sharing your fact. Then quietly return to your seat.
  • Are there any questions?”

If there are no questions, start the activity. Watch and monitor participants to see if everyone has shared a fact with at least a few people before signaling to end the activity by raising your hand and waiting for the group to join you.

Once the group has rejoined, engage the group members in discussion by asking:

  • What did you learn about suicide?
    • One by one, call on students, and list their responses on the board or flipchart.
  • Is suicide a problem in the US? Were there any facts that support your answer?
    • Yes – See facts #1, #8, #9
  • Which gender attempts suicide more frequently, males or females?
    • Females attempt suicide more frequently than males (3:1); however males complete suicide more frequently than females (4:1) – See fact # 2
  • Do the majority of suicide attempts result in death?
    • For every completed youth suicide it is estimated that 100-200 attempts are made. – See fact #8
  • If a person talks about suicide, does that mean that person is suicidal?
    • If you know someone who is talking about suicide, take them seriously. Know that there are resources available for them and ACT to get help for them. – See fact #25

Mention to the group that although most of us do think about suicide at some point, the majority of people choose life because they realize the situation they are having a problem with is temporary. It is also important to highlight the fact that if you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, there are a number of resources that can help.

Activity: Warning Signs

“One of the facts we learned in our last activity was that: Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about suicide. If this is a somewhat normal feeling, how can we know when one of our friends is really in trouble? How do we know when we should get help?

Today we will take the Suicide Self-Warnings Quiz (Activity CM12-2). Please listen as I read the questions aloud for you. This quiz is just for your information and your information only. Answers will not be shared out loud.

Read each question on the quiz aloud slowly. After the group takes the quiz, review some of the other warning signs below. End this section of the lesson plan by stating. “If you answered yes to any of the quiz questions or notice some of the warning signs we discussed in yourself or someone else, than you should seek help from a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, counselor, police officer, etc.”

Other warning signs to discuss include:

  • Talking about dying
  • Recent loss
  • Change in personality
  • Change in behavior
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in eating habits
  • Fear of losing control
  • Low self-esteem
  • No hope for the future
  • Suicidal impulses, statements, and/or plans
  • Giving away favorite things
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Substance abuse
  • Social isolation
  • Victims of bullying or harassment

Activity: Suicide Scenarios

Perform one or both of the Suicide Scenarios: “Suicide Scenario-Calvin” (Activity CM12-3) or “Suicide Scenario-Sam” (Activity CM12-4).

Discussion Questions: Ask the following questions of the group. After each question is a possible answer for each scenario.

1) Does this young person remind you of anyone you know?
a. Calvin: Most schools have a Calvin that is picked on and can’t seem to get a break.
Added pressure from home makes the situation even worse.

b. Sam: There are many people in each school who appear to be doing great on the outside, but there is a lot of pain hidden inside. It is always hard to tell what is really going on inside of people.

2) Did this young person display warning signs before taking their own life?

a. Calvin: Yes, Calvin is socially isolated and probably also has low self-esteem. He is also being harassed by both kids at school and at home.

b. Sam: It is difficult to say from the skit. Sam’s friends at school were probably shocked when she committed suicide, considering she was very successful at school and liked by everyone. Her parents were the only ones that might have noticed she was a little different, but they were so caught up in their own drama that they probably weren’t aware.

3) What do you feel ultimately drove this young person to commit suicide?

a. Calvin: Most likely, Calvin could see no other way to avoid the pain he was experiencing as a result of his depression and the abuse he was getting at school and home.

b. Sam: It seems that Sam saw no other options and was tired of the pain she was experiencing because of her parent’s relationship.

4) What other options did this young person have that they might not have been able to see?

a. Calvin: Most likely, someone at school would have been able to help him. It isn’t clear in the scenario if Calvin had ever tried to talk to a teacher, counselor, or administrator and these individuals could really help with stopping the bullying.

b. Sam: Sam could have talked to someone. There are laws in place to protect victims of abuse. Maybe there was someone in the community from a church or another organization that could have offered Sam’s family support.

5) Who do you think this young person could have turned to for help?

a. Calvin: Teachers, counselors, and administrators could have helped at school. To help his home situation, he could have talked to any other relatives who would have supported him or other members of the community.

b. Sam: Sam probably could have turned to her friends, her teachers, school counselors, and members of the community.

6) Who could have stopped this young person from committing suicide?

a. Calvin: Another student at school who witnessed the bullying happening could have helped. A teacher who cared enough to call home and check on Calvin’s home life or another relative who is aware of Calvin’s situation could have stopped this from happening.

b. Sam: In Sam’s case, it seems a little harder to determine who could have stopped this tragedy. Still, there may have been neighbors or family friends who were aware of the situation who could have stepped in.

7) If you knew this young person, what do you think you could have done to change their fate?

a. Calvin: I could have helped Calvin by standing up for him when he was being bullied or inviting him to eat with me at lunch.

b. Sam: I could have helped Sam get help by talking to an adult who could help or providing Sam resources in the community or at school where she could get help.

8) What is the best way for this young person’s family and friends to heal after this tragedy?

a. Calvin: Calvin’s father will most likely heal by accepting responsibility for his role in Calvin’s decision to end his life. Those who tormented Calvin at school would most likely heal by vowing to change their ways as well.

b. Sam: Hopefully, Sam’s parents heal by accepting responsibility and changing their behavior. Sam’s friends will probably heal by honoring her memory and remembering the good times they shared together.

9) What does this scenario tell us about who might be thinking about suicide?

a. Calvin: This scenario tells us that no matter how different a person may be, it is not appropriate or respectful to make fun of, harass, or bully another human being. We can never be sure what the consequences of our negative behavior could be.

b. Sam: This scenario tells us that people who are contemplating suicide are not always spotted easily. Friends and families must pay attention to those they love to make sure they are paying attention for possible warnings signs. Remember, suicide can affect anyone; it doesn’t discriminate for gender, age, or ethnicity.

Activity: Codes of Silence

Most family members, professionals, and friends of someone who is suicidal are often asked to not tell someone or to not make a referral. This is mostly because they are anxious, depressed, feeling hopeless, and alone.

The facilitator for this activity should share this with the group by saying: “It is very common for those who are thinking about committing suicide to request secrecy from anyone they talk to about their suicidal thoughts or plans. Often, suicidal plans are discussed with others but they also keep them secret. When something is this serious, why do you think friends of people who have shared they are suicidal keep it secret?”

Answers may include:

  • They are trying to honor their friend’s wishes
  • Afraid how parents will react
  • Don’t want to take them seriously
  • Don’t want them locked up
  • Don’t want them mad at them
  • Don’t trust the adult professionals
  • Don’t know the warning signs
  • Believe that adult helpers will be ineffective

The facilitator MUST let the group know that 9 out of 10 adolescents who commit suicide give clues before the suicide attempt.1 STAYING SILENT is a significant factor in suicide fatalities and can be avoided if you share the information with a trusted adult. It is much better to have a friend who is alive and mad at you for sharing something they asked you to keep secret than to have lost a friend forever to suicide.

Action Plan/Next Steps:

Facilitator: Ask the group “What are ways that we can cope with feeling overwhelmed”. Record their answers on flip chart or board.

Ask students what they can do if a friend talks to them about suicide. Share with them that they should ACT:

  • Acknowledge: Take it seriously, and be willing to listen.
  • Care: Take the initiative, and voice your concern.
  • Treatment: Get professional help immediately.

Distribute the Suicide Prevention Brochure (Activity CM12-5). Review information with participants.

Wrap-Up Activity: Overwhelmed…Take Two

Facilitator 2 (same person as in the beginning of the session): “Let’s revisit our friend who was 0feeling overwhelmed earlier.”

Facilitator 1: Begin by introducing yourself. Then place one cup upside down on a table in front of you and say “Today I will be represented by this cup. I am this cup.” Then continue on to mention the following statements. Each time you mention a new statement, someone will come to offer support for the issue at hand.

  • “I just moved recently to a new neighborhood. It is alright, but I still don’t have many friends.” (Add one cup)
  • “I did make one friend though. She is pretty nice, but my mom thinks she is trouble because we got caught skipping school last week. I never skipped school at my old school.” (Add one cup)
  • “My new friend took me to her house and we tried some of her dad’s alcohol from his alcohol cabinet.” (Add one cup)
  • “We didn’t get drunk or anything, we just tried it but my parents were so mad that they grounded me for a whole month and told me I can’t hang out with her again!” (Add one cup)
  • “And my parents have been fighting so much lately!” (Add one cup)
  • “I can barely think at home. My grades are slipping and the teachers think I am stupid, Iknow it.” (Add one cup)
  • “I don’t even like myself anymore.” (Add one cup)
  • “I just don’t think I can take it anymore.” (Add one cup…and then let all of the cups fall, if they haven’t already.)

Follow-Up: (Option: Have the folks who came up to provide support sing “Lean on Me” happily!). Facilitator 2: Tell the audience that there will be times in our lives that things can become overwhelming – whether they are problems with relationships, school, work, or everything at once. It is important that we surround ourselves with support systems – friends, teachers, family members that care. Know where you can get help for yourself or a friend and remember it is extremely import ant to seek help for a friend in need. Afterwards, ask if anyone has comments or questions. Introduce your Community Resource Professionals and reiterate to the group that help is on hand if anyone would like to speak with them.


Language Arts: Encourage students to try journaling or writing poetry to let go of their feelings and reflect on their lives.

Social Studies: Have students think about all of the things throughout the world that demonstrate life is good. Students can then make presentations on why it is good to be alive.

Healthful Living: Review what is involved in a healthy lifestyle, including physically, socially, and psychologically. Discuss the importance of remaining healthy, especially when you are facing difficult situations. Have students brainstorm ideas of how to stay healthy when stress is high and situations seem overwhelming.

Art Education: Have students think about someone they know at school who might need a pick me up. Have each student make a humorous card to brighten their selected student’s day.

Opportunities for Parental Involvement:

Share the “Suicide Prevention Brochures” (Activity CM12-5) with parents so they can be aware of things to watch out for in their children and in their children’s friends.


Activity CM12-1

Everyone Teach One Facts

1) Adolescent suicide is an increasing problem in the U.S.1

2) Females attempt suicide more frequently than males (3:1); however males complete suicide more frequently than females (4:1) .1

3) Most teens who are experiencing active suicidal ideation will admit their plans to someone who is concerned and asks about their distress. 1

4) Suicidal threats, preoccupation or behavior must always be taken seriously. 1

5) Adolescent suicide is a threat to young people of every race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.1

6) Over 90% of suicidal adolescents give clues to others prior to their attempt.1

7) Studies have shown that, among parents of children found to have suicidal ideation; up to 86% of parents were unaware of their child’s suicidal risk.1

8) For every completed youth suicide it is estimated 100-200 attempts are made.1

9) Each day there are approximately 12 youth suicides. A person under the age of 25 dies by suicide every 2 hours, 11 minutes.1

10) It is likely that three students (one boy and two girls) within a typical high school classroom have made a suicide attempt in the past year.1

11) Research has shown that most adolescent suicides occur after school hours, in the teen’s home.1

12) Adolescent suicide is a major health problem, however, a great deal is known about the risk factors and underlying causes which can guide prevention efforts.1

13) Suicide ranks third as a cause of death among young (15-24) Americans. Only accidents and homicides occur more frequently.2

14) Mental health diagnoses are generally associated with a higher rate of suicide.2

15) Socially isolated individuals are generally found to be at a higher risk for suicide.2

16) Research has shown that the access to and the availability of firearms influences significant increases in rates of youth suicide.2

17) One in 12 college students has made a suicide plan.2

18) Not all adolescent attempters may admit their intent. Therefore, any deliberate selfharming behaviors should be considered serious and in need of further evaluation.2

19) Most adolescent suicide attempts are triggered by interpersonal conflicts. The intent of the behavior appears to be to effect change in the behaviors or attitudes of others.2

20) Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.2

21) Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warnings or do not know how to respond to them.2

22) Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.2

23) Approximately 32,000 Americans kill themselves every year. The number of suicide attempts is much greater and often results in serious injury.2

24) Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about suicide. Most everyone decides to live because they realize that the crisis is temporary, but death is not.2

25) If you know someone who is talking about suicide, take them seriously. Ask them if they are thinking about suicide and be willing to listen to their response. Know that there are resources where you can seek help and take action to get help for this person.2

26) Don’t promise someone who may be talking about suicide that you will keep their intentions secret; you must seek support for them.2

27) Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, but they may also be at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.2

28) Some people who don’t know how to cope may engage in self-injury. One type of self-injury is called cutting or injuring yourself on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object.3

29) If you are struggling with problems, make sure you tell someone you trust what’s going on so you can get help figuring out what to do about the problems you are facing. Surround yourself with people who are caring and positive.3

30) Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you are getting down and depressed, if you don’t have a strong support network, or feel you can’t cope.3

31) Friends are often in a good position to recognize teens at-risk of suicide and must involve others when trying to help prevent a suicide.4


Crisis Text Line: Text "SOS" to 741741


Activity CM12-2

Suicide Self-Warnings Quiz

Answer the following questions to see if you, or someone you know, are displaying suicide warning signs.

1. Do you talk about death and dying often?
2. Do you think about killing yourself?
3. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
4. Has your personality and behaviors changed?
5. Has there been a change in your sleeping patterns?
6. Have your eating habits changed?
7. Do you fear you are going to lose control of yourself?
8. Do you have low self-esteem?
9. Do you believe there is no hope for the future?
10. Do you believe the world would be better off without you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, for yourself or someone else, than you should seek help from a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, counselor, police officer, etc.


Activity CM12-3

Suicide Scenario-Calvin

Narrator: This is Calvin. He is depressed and has been thinking about taking his life. He has a hard life at school. A certain young man named Josef picks on Calvin and takes poor Calvin’s lunch away as seen here…

Josef: Hey four eyes!

Calvin: Who? Me?

Josef: Yeah you! Give me your lunch money!

Calvin: No, I’m really hungry!

Action: Josef proceeds to beat up Calvin

Narrator: As you have seen, Calvin does not have a very good school life, but his home life is even worse as seen here….

Dad: What happened to your face? (drunk)

Calvin: Nothing... nothing’s wrong. (trying to hide his face)

Dad: Learn how to be a man! I can’t believe this! You can’t admit that you were in a fight? You are such a pansy. If your mom was still alive she probably wouldn’t believe it either!

Calvin: I hate you!

Narrator: That night at 10:36 pm … Calvin took his own life.

(Dramatic pause).

Narrator: Each one of us may know a Calvin in our lives or maybe you are experiencing thoughts of self hurt like Calvin. Each one of us can help – be a true friend and provide a listening ear. Don’t be afraid to talk to a parent, counselor or other trusted adult if you are considering hurting yourself or know of someone who may be suicidal.


Activity CM12-4

Suicide Scenario-Sam

Narrator: Once there was a girl named Sam, she was very successful in school and she was liked by everyone. But at home things weren't going so well...

Father: Get away from me; I don't want to see you right now!!!

Mother: You know what? That’s it; I'm tired of you yelling at me like I'm nothing!

Who do you think you are?!

Action: Father swings his hand and slaps Sam's mom


Sam: You Monster! Why did you do that??!!!!

Father: You stay out of this, you little Brat! This is between me and your mother!!!

Sam: No! I'm not going to let you touch her anymore!

Action: Sam's father grabs her and throws her across the room.

Narrator: This has been going on for a few months now. Sam does not know what to do. She can't find a way out of this trauma.

Sam: How could you! Why are you treating us this way!!!??? Sam cries.

Father: I warned you to stay out of this and this is what you get!

Action: Sam's father continues to beat her mom.

Action: While still crying, Sam gets the strength to get up and walk away. She goes to the kitchen and gets a knife.

Narrator: You could still hear her parents fighting. Then she makes the drastic decision to end her life...

(Dramatic pause).

Each one of us may know someone like Sam or maybe you are experiencing thoughts of self hurt. Each one of us can help – be a true friend and provide a listening ear. Don’t be afraid to talk to a parent, counselor or other trusted adult if you are considering hurting yourself or know of someone who may be suicidal.


Keep Suicide Prevention Fresh With Classroom Activities

Teaching high school and middle school students, especially when you are dealing with sensitive topics, requires quite a bit of creativity. The SOS program recognizes this and offers schools some uniquely engaging and interactive lesson plans beyond the traditional program. Everything you need for the lesson plans is included in the program’s implementers’ guide. While some are specifically for middle school and others for high school, you can feel free to mix them up -- they both work for the different age groups.

Each of the games requires the students’ participation, and encourages discussion. They teach students about the signs and symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation and the best ways to respond and do so in an engaging, non-threatening way.

Middle School: The Categories Game

This game takes about 30 minutes, and involves breaking up the class into groups of four to six students, and the task of the students is to determine what a list of things has in common. The facilitator will read a list with items such as:

  • Tell them to snap out of it
  • Keep it a secret
  • Leave the person alone

These are all, of course, things you should not do when someone expresses symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts. There are five different categories and each category has six lists, so there is enough to fill an entire 30-minute lesson block.

Middle School: Connections Game

This game is similar to Apples to Apples, and allows the facilitator to play the game as a whole class, or by breaking the class up into teams of four to six students. Students receive descriptor cards and the person in the group serving as the judge (or the class facilitator) chooses a noun card, and each of the players choose descriptor cards that they think matches best. For example, a facilitator may say the term “text messages,” and the students playing choose from their cards the most applicable descriptors that match the noun. The idea is that there are no right or wrong answers, but that the students defend their choice and explain how their descriptor matches the noun. This is a great way to encourage dialogue about the topics at hand.

Middle School: Lights, Camera, ACT

This game involves role playing and presents a selection of scenarios that students can act out. The goal of the exercise is to help students develop and practice effective ways to handle situations that involve being concerned for a depressed or suicidal friend. The implementation guide includes “Do’s and Don’ts” to tell the students before the roleplaying, so that you start them off in the right direction. Below is one scenario.

It’s the end of the school day, and Shawn is talking to Marcus about the upcoming weekend. They usually make plans to hang out and play basketball on Saturdays with some other guys, but Marcus hasn’t shown up for the last couple months. Shawn asks Marcus about it, but he becomes annoyed and angry and tells him to just back off. Shawn thinks it’s strange considering Marcus is typically energetic, happy and always is always up for shooting hoops.

High School: Scripts for Suicide Prevention Hotline

These scripts are a really fun activity, and are especially helpful because students can really apply what is going on in their own community. After facilitators teach the students about the warning signs of depression and suicidal thoughts, and the ACT acronym (acknowledge, care, tell), pairs of students create scripts and talk out a call to a suicide prevention hotline. As your students hear the warning signs, it’s a great way to reinforce the lessons they have already learned.

High School: Myths and Facts Quiz

This quiz is very powerful and really challenges students’ beliefs about suicide and depression among teens. You can involve the students in any way you want, whether you discuss the myths and facts included in the implementers’ guide, or you pass out sheets and students read them and choose whether something is a myth or fact.

Of course, every school and community is different. If you have an SOS program and have any questions or comments about the games, feel free to contact us at anytime at

Organizing a No Name-Calling Week - 1/20-24/20

A school-wide No Name-Calling Week means school-wide involvement from students, administrators, teachers, family members, and staff. Here are some tips for involving your school community in planning a fun and effective No Name-Calling Week.

Get Administrative Support

School leaders will likely want to support a program aimed at improving the health and safety of all students. Still, they might have concerns about whether the program will detract from required curriculum, how much work it will require from faculty and staff, and whether an anti-bullying program is even necessary at their school. Consider your vision for No Name-Calling Week at your school, and approach school leaders with a list of doable activities. Some ideas are class lessons and activities, student essay and poster contests, a school newspaper article, a library display, peer education sessions, educational events for staff and family members, a school assembly, and discussion/support groups for students.

Present data to school administrators that highlight a need for No Name-Calling Week in your school. Use statistics from reputable studies. Gather anecdotal evidence of bullying (be sure to not use names!) from faculty and staff. Point out that since bullying encourages absenteeism and lower academic performance in victims, addressing the problem will help maximize instructional hours and heighten student achievement in the future. Encourage colleagues and administrators to peruse the No Name-Calling Week sample lesson plans, which are heavily grounded in reading, writing, and critical thinking experiences that can be integrated into a variety of subject areas.


Classroom teachers can participate in No Name-Calling Week in a variety of ways. They can display posters and wear stickers to remind students of the week's message. In addition, they can make a commitment to read about ways to support students who experience bullying and intervene proactively. Teachers with limited planning time may want to screen the No Name-Calling Week video or read excerpts from The Misfits, which is included in the No Name-Calling Week Education Kit. Teachers who wish to be more involved can implement lessons from the resource guide, develop their own supplementary materials, and help plan school-wide events. Plan a presentation for teachers to share during a faculty meeting or voluntary after-school session, and share statistics on verbal bullying and its effects and information on No Name-Calling Week. Enlist grade or department leaders who can take responsibility for passing information along as you plan, or choose and area for posting updates in the faculty lounge.


Depending on the age and abilities of students, there are plenty of ways for students to make No Name-Calling Week an experience that resonates with young people. Asking for volunteers is a great way to initially involve students, as those who have been affected by verbal bullying might want to do something proactive about it. Make a morning announcement, ask teachers to make classroom pitches, and distribute information via student clubs to invite students to a planning session where ideas will be generated and tasks assigned. Students might be interested in creating posters to decorate halls and classrooms, conducting a student survey about bullying (link), helping to develop an anti-slur policy, participating in reading or discussion groups about bullying, and creating dramatic pieces for performance in school assemblies. There are more ways to involve students detailed in the resource guide.

Guidance Staff

Your school's guidance staff has experience and expertise in dealing with bullying and its effects, so take advantage of their knowledge. Counselors can be of service by facilitating an informational session for parents and family members, or by training support staff on proactive intervention methods. If counselors run discussion or support groups for students, they might want to consider name-calling as a topic for this week and beyond. Guidance staff can be encouraged to make classroom visits to discuss verbal bullying from a psychological angle, and can display posters in their offices to mark them as safe spaces for discussion.

Support Staff

Most bullying occurs outside the classroom, in places where support staff is often present - the hallways, cafeteria, schoolyard, locker room, and school bus. No Name-Calling Week provides a great opportunity to help support staff recognize problems caused by verbal bulling, and to act as positive agents in ending name-calling ask guidance staff to provide them with training. Encourage support staff to wear No Name-Calling Week stickers, and share the fact sheet for school personnel provided in the Resource Guide.

Library Staff

Ask library staff to provide support by wearing stickers, displaying posters, and creating eye-catching displays of titles that deal with bullying. The bibliography provided in the resource guide offers a comprehensive list of titles that handle the subject realistically and open opportunities for thought and discussion, some of which you might add to your library.

Physical Education Staff

Since much bullying occurs in the locker room and on the playing field, No Name-Calling Week is a great time for physical education teachers to explore the concept of sportsmanship with their students, and to promote sport and exercise as an opportunity to build community and improve health. Ask athletic staff to plan noncompetitive, team-building activities, and to reinforce rules of conduct that promote positive behavior. Place a special emphasis on prohibiting names that disparage students who are not athletically inclined, and encourage rituals and language that promote self-esteem (e.g., high fives and "nice try").


Family members play an integral role in shaping children's attitudes towards name-calling. There are plenty of ways for them to both help make the week a success, as well as benefit from educational opportunities. Plan a homework activity that requires involvement from family members, and send a copy of the bibliography from the resource guide home with students with a note encouraging them to borrow the titles from the local library. Ask the PTA to do fundraising for school-wide events, and get volunteers to run an after-school poster-making workshop for students. Give parents and guardians an opportunity to learn about name-calling at a family event featuring a guidance counselor or outside mental health professional. Finally, share the resources for families provided in the resource guide, which include information on what to do if your child is being bullied and how to talk to educators about bullying. Outreach to family members should begin with a note from the principal or a guidance counselor introducing them to No Name-Calling Week, and suggesting ways in which they can be involved.

Get Ready!

Assign point persons to spearhead the school assembly, family event, and staff training. Vary the format at these events: combine words from a guidance counselor with readings of winning contest essays and dramatic performances or a film screening at the assembly. Family members and staff should have opportunities to speak about strategies they've used to support victims and intervene in name-calling.

Build momentum as you approach No Name-Calling Week by sending out email updates, featuring an article in the school newspaper, sharing information during morning announcements, and displaying posters and flyers. Choose a bulletin board for posting updates, as well as the winners of essay and poster contests, and spruce up the library with an attractive display.