HOUSTON, TX (April 3, 2012) – Taunting, exclusion, bullying, rumoring and ganging up have all led to violence in the past few years; and in a world of 24-hour connectedness, with no down time as in the past, these behaviors are causing greater harm. Every day, 160,000 American students skip school to avoid being bullied, and numerous deaths have been reported.
To help address those issues in schools today, Holocaust Museum Houston is piloting a new social cruelty program this spring at four Houston schools in the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) system to help teach students and teachers about the five behaviors of social cruelty and how schools can develop communities in which humanity is in action.
“All Behaviors Count: Humanity in Action” is unique in concept from other anti-bullying programs in that it addresses all five behaviors that can lead to violence, ostracism and low self-esteem among students, said Dr. Mary Lee Webeck, the Museum’s director of education.
“Bullying and these related behaviors are an ongoing human problem,” she said. “We believe there is a powerful connection between studying the Holocaust and other genocides and exploring the ways in which human beings act toward each other in the 21st century.”
Webeck noted that Holocaust survivors frequently describe the same behaviors prior to and during the Holocaust in their testimonies, and the international watchdog group Genocide Watch has identified them as occurring even today in what it calls the “eight stages of genocide.”
“Our program looks inside and outside the school community to the role of these five behaviors in culture, using examples from popular media, literature, art, music and even modern television commercials. Using the experiences of our Holocaust survivors, examples from Holocaust history and other genocides and HMH’s own ‘Triangle’ lesson, we can promote resiliency, upstander behaviors and appropriate communication skills in today’s youth,” she said.
The program eventually will utilize a Web-based platform, books, a lecture series and public discussion forums to reach wider audiences. Based on its initial success, it will be replicated in other schools this fall.
“All Behaviors Count: Humanity in Action” is generously underwritten by The Brown Foundation, Inc., and is presented with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
The program has already been tested with more than 2,100 students from 12 schools. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.