Today is the last day of GLSEN's ninth annual No Name-Calling Week, a week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.

No Name-Calling Week engages young people of all ages to curb the use of name-calling in schools through lesson plans and a creative expression contest. No Name-Calling Week recognizes that young people learn the practice of name-calling early in life, and focus on how language is used as a way to target and dehumanize students. 

The i-word is often used in schools as an attack against students. In our I Am series, David Cho recalls how the i-word connects to bullying:

I have been called the i-word many times. It feels eerie every time I hear it. There are some people who are simply misinformed and think it's a correct term. At the same time, there are those who deliberately use it saying "illegal is illegal." The i-word only criminalizes people and rouses tension and hatred that leads to bad laws, bullying and even much worse.

As anti-immigrant laws and policies get continue to be passed and enforced across the country, as anti-immigrant rhetoric continues to flow in political debates, the i-word is increasingly being used in schools as a way to put down, bully and intimidate other students. Parents in Alabama reported Latino students faced increased bullying and harassment in the shadow of anti-immigrant law HB56. 

Students in North Carolina have gotten involved in the Drop the I-Word campaign as a way to address anti-immigrant bullying in schools. They say the were motivated to get involved because of the increased bullying of Latinos and others perceived to be immigrants. They say students are called slurs like "illegals," "wetback," and "alien." Earlier this year, Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, visited Charlotte to talk to students about bullying and harassment due to a rise in civil rights abuse claims in the region.

Kudos to GLSEN and No Name-Calling Week for encouraging respectful, humanizing language. For more information go to www.nonamecallingweek.org.