Sixteen schools designated as No Place for Hate
All 16 Mount Vernon City School District schools were presented with No Place for Hate (NPFH) Banners at the NPFH Banner Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The district became the largest school district in Westchester County to have all of its schools designated as No Place for Hate. They are among the 239 NPFH schools in downstate New York.
The Mount Vernon City School District was one of the many school districts from New York to attend the NPFH Banner Ceremony. Presenters from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) gave testimonials about how NPFH has affected school communities across the country and the progress that NPFH has made.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jamal Doggett first started the program during his time as principal at Rebecca Turner Elementary School. They received the NPFH designation for each of the six years after they implemented the program. When he became an assistant superintendent, he brought the program district wide. He established a leadership team and was able to fulfill NPFH requirements at each school in just the first year.
“I am extremely proud of the work accomplished by our schools to ensure the fight continues against all forms of hate, bias, bullying, and discrimination,” said Dr. Doggett. “We anticipate that No Place for Hate will assist with providing safe learning environments for our schools to ensure our academic programs and student outcomes thrive.”
Josephine Kirkland-Hudson, school social worker at Rebecca Turner Elementary School; Jennifer Goire-Peralta, school counselor at RTES, Melissa Sansotta, special education teacher at RTES; and Dr. Doggett led the initiative as NPFH coordinators. Kirkland-Hudson also received the Gold Star Educator Award from the ADL for her work as a district leader in NPFH.
“To our school building teams, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and staff: Thank you for supporting No Place for Hate,” said Kirkland-Hudson. “It truly takes a team of people who believe in a vision to make things happen. You are here today because you have made a commitment and a pledge to treat others with respect, kindness and acceptance. Congratulations to all of you for earning the No Place for Hate designation.”
Each school has completed several NPFH activities throughout the year to achieve their designations. These activities focused on diversity, inclusion and acceptance. Mount Vernon High School held A Walk Around the Globe with representatives from several countries to highlight diversity. Lincoln School held a pen pal activity to encourage older students to mentor and support younger students. Each school in the district held its own unique NPFH activities to foster a more accepting environment at their school.
As presenters asked the crowd how NPFH has affected their lives, hands from Mount Vernon students shot up.
“No Place for Hate used to only be in one school in our district, but I’m really glad that it’s in all schools,” said Queen Inwang, seventh grade student at Hamilton School. “It allows us to make education our priority, and we are able to be in a safe environment because of No Place for Hate. And I’m very thankful for that."
Each school can display their banners prominently in their buildings to signal that it is No Place for Hate. Students will know when they come to school that they are entering an accepting environment that will help them succeed socially, emotionally and academically.
Four deserving students left school with new pairs of sneakers thanks to a donation from Jude Sainjour, cofounder of Buttafly, a clothing shop in Mount Vernon. Mr. Sainjour traveled to Grimes School to personally give the students their new shoes on Friday, September 22, 2023.
Fathers gathered around the entrance of their child's school and children beamed with happiness as their dads got a chance to visit their school. Lincoln School, Mount Vernon Leadership Academy, Hamilton School, Cecil H. Parker School and Graham School held Dads Bring Your Child to School Day on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
About one hundred students came out to City Hall and gathered outside in anticipation for free sneakers and backpacks donated by Christian “King” Combs and Justin Combs, the sons of Sean “Diddy” Combs. The Mount Vernon City School District, in partnership with the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, hosted the sneaker giveaway on Wednesday, September 20, 2023.
The Mount Vernon City School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department has announced that it will be offering emergency medical technician (EMT) training at Mount Vernon High School. The courses will be available for around 20 12th-grade students at MVHS and Rebecca Turner Academy (RTA).
Two alumni of Mount Vernon High School spoke to a crowd of 11th graders and motivated them to excel in their studies and accomplish great things. Erica Naughton, assistant principal at MVHS, invited Dr. Gloria Pope and Steven “Butch” Thomas to show scholars the success that Mount Vernon graduates and residents can achieve. Mr. Thomas and Dr. Pope visited MVHS on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Recently, some students in the region came across a concerning post on the popular social media platform TikTok. This post contained a generic threat that mentioned "open fire" on schools without specifying any particular school or district. It is important to note that such posts are not isolated incidents and are unfortunately prevalent on various social media platforms worldwide. Their intent is often to create alarm, annoyance, and disrupt the educational process.
The Mount Vernon City School District welcomes In-House Counsel Royce Russell. Mr. Russell is an attorney specializing in employment (wrongful termination and discrimination), contracts, and civil rights violations. He will work with all aspects of the District, including legal, policies and procedures, and daily operations.