Spread the word: It’s non-stop R-E-S-P-E-C-T at Lord Baltimore



Lord Baltimore Elementary student Gunnar Marcozzi, left, shows lunch guest John Hughes his cupcake dessert during the Lunch/Buddy Club initiative.

OCEAN VIEW – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin hasn’t quite cornered the market on R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

It certainly abounds at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

LB spread shelby and sarela

Shelby Hofsan, left, and Sarela Canseco strengthen their friendship over lunch in Lord Baltimore Elementary’s Lunch/Buddy Club.

Respect is evident in the hallways, classrooms and in the hearts of students and staff.

“To me it means kindness. Kindness goes with respect,” said third grader Dominic Delaney. “If you don’t have kindness you can’t have respect … kind of.”

“We are all about respect here at Lord Baltimore,” said Linda Brown, the school’s Intensive Learning Center educator for grades three through five.

Wednesday, March 2 was an extra-special respectful day at Lord Baltimore.

Sharing the spotlight with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, national Spread the Word to End the Word Day united students in special activities and lessons.

A huge “Show Respect to Everyone” banner was signed by every Lord Baltimore student and others including staff. Their school-wide pledge was to never ever use the R-word – retard(ed) – in derogatory or hurtful fashion.

LB spread pledge banner no kids

Kindness, acceptance, unity, inclusion and friendship are wonderful words.

Katelin McGinnis, an ILC third grader, got the word a long time ago.

“I never call people bad names because it might be embarrassing and it can hurt. You treat people with kindness,” Katelin said.

Statewide, close to 120 Delaware schools – preschool through college – participated in Special Olympics Delaware’s Spread the Word initiative. It’s part of the global movement of mutual respect and human dignity.

Schoolwide, Lord Baltimore teachers during Spread the Word week staged special lessons and/or activities on respect, kindness and inclusion.

Ms. Brown’s special education students are all part of a Lunch/Buddy Club where they choose a peer from their general education class to join them for lunch.

“It encourages friendship,” Ms. Brown.

LB spread gomez and veirs air hockey

Lord Baltimore Elementary fourth graders Alexander Gomez, left, and Cole Veirs engage in a game of air hockey during the Lunch/Buddy Club.

The Lunch/Buddy Club is held monthly. On this day the Lunch/Buddy Club dined in Ms. Brown’s second-floor classroom. After lunch they socialized with conversation and games.

John Hughes was fourth grader Gunnar Marcozzi’s peer invitee.

“I get excited because I get to come up here with my friends,” said John. “I like it. It’s fun.”

“It’s easy to become friends in here,” said ILC third grader Cheyann Puller.

Cheyann’s lunch buddy was Dominic Delaney.

“I just moved here about a year before. And the first person I met was Cheyann,” said Dominic. “I was kind of shy. Then we became closer and closer as friends.”

On morning school-wide announcement Alijah Taylor, an ILC fifth grader, shared words on diversity:

“Did you know that there is not one single person in the whole wide world exactly like you?” said Alijah. “That’s right. Even if you have a twin brother or sister, there is still no one exactly like you. Why? Because you have your own special feelings, your own special ideas and your own special ways of doing things. Everyone here at school is a one-of-a-kind human being. That makes everyone here special in his or her own way.”

LB spread adam baker dominic delaney linda brown

Lord Baltimore Elementary student Adam Baker gestures as third grader Dominic Delaney looks on during a lesson about respect and kindness. Monitoring the lesson is Linda Brown, ILC instructor for grades three through five.

To demonstrate deep wounds that hurtful words can inflict, several students from Ms. Brown’s ILC class joined Ms. Christina Reed’s general third-grade class in acting out an activity.

Ms. Brown challenged students in pairs to direct mean and disparaging remarks at a green paper cutout. His name was Greenie.

Piece by piece part of Greenie was torn off with each hurtful remark. Sincere apologies and scotch tape put Greenie back together.

Echoing statements from students Adam Baker and Dominic Delaney, Ms. Brown said hurtful words damage an individual’s heart and their feelings.

“And they are never quite the same afterwards, are they?  Ms. Brown said. “If you apologize that kind of fixes things but the damage has been done because of that mean thing you might have said or done. It never really goes away. So, think about what you say before you say it.”

Ms. Brown’s class participates in Special Olympics Delaware’s basketball and soccer programs in conjunction with the Project Unify effort. They’ll be at Sussex Tech High School May 9 with Unified Partners (students from general education) for that soccer spectacle.

Ms. Brown’s long career in special education career started in New York City.

And she honestly cannot recall ever hearing the nasty R-word at Lord Baltimore.

“Respect is one of our three R’s here. Our R-words here are: ‘respect,’ ‘responsible’ and ‘ready’ to learn,” said Ms. Brown. “We are respectful every day of the year.”

LB spread third ggrade class welcome

Students in Christina Reed’s third-grade class and guests from an Intensive Learning Center class offer a warm welcome to the media on National Spread the Word Day at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

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