Students reflect on ADL ‘No Place for Hate’ conference

Hawks find new ways to tackle bullying in middle school with a touch of humor

Olivia B.

Bullying has been an issue in schools for a long time.

A recent New York Times report has shown that hate-crime violence (hateful attacks on people of different races or cultures) has reached a 16-year high. People talk about these issues a lot. ROMS is taking steps to actually do something about it. 

Five ROMS students traveled to Fair Park with Ms.Mena and Ms. Barnes to the annual Anti-Defamation League (ADL) No Place For Hate Conference on October 4. For several hours, the group experienced other students expressing their feelings about hate and bullying in school. But this wasn’t like an ordinary school assembly. 

No one was falling asleep. No one was checking Insta or Snap. In fact, every student was engaged, leaning slightly forward in their seats! Some students were even dropping their jaws at the poems being rapped, stories being shared, and the jokes being told. Yes – they were telling jokes at an anti-bullying conference. Although bullying is a very serious matter, one of the speakers ( a former youth soccer coach) used humor to get his point across. 

Sheresa Thomas, Education Director for  ADL has a good reason for not allowing sixth graders to participate in their conference at this time. “It gives our sixth graders something to look forward to,” Thomas said. She is looking for new talent every year wants to focus on the stories of young people.

Jennifer Mena, ROMS 7th grade counselor, drove students to Fair Park. So was it worth missing a half day of school and the Homecoming Parade? Yes. 

“I felt like everybody was encouraged and excited,” Mena said. “And they want to make a difference and make our school a better place.”