BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to ensuring all students have a safe learning environment, Governor Deval Patrick has designated January 25 as “No Name Calling Day” in Massachusetts. A provision of the anti-bullying legislation, supported by the Legislature and signed by Governor Patrick in May 2010, “No Name Calling Day” will be recognized in classrooms across the Commonwealth as students pledge to take a stand against bullying.

Students are also encouraged to wear black as a sign of their commitment to “Black Out Bullying” in schools January 25.

“In my role as Governor and as a father of two daughters, I firmly believe that every child should come to school knowing that they are safe and free from bullying,” said Governor Patrick. “No Name Calling Day will remind us of the type of vigilance we should exhibit every day to ensure our students are free from the dangers and distractions of bullying.”

“We need to foster safe environments for students, and ‘No Name Calling Day’ is an initiative to help raise awareness that bullying should not be tolerated,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “I hope that on this day and throughout the year, students feel protected and safe in their schools and communities.”

Students will also have the opportunity to sign “No Name Calling Day” banners that will be created at each school to publicly express their commitment to preventing bullying. Working with superintendents and school leadership, members of the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council will help lead efforts in their greater communities to Black Out Bullying.

The Governor’s Statewide Youth Council is comprised of 28 young people ages 14 – 20, representing all 14 counties of Massachusetts. Council members were selected to advise the Administration on key issues affecting youth across the Commonwealth and identified youth violence prevention and education as the two issues they will focus on this year. Members serve for two years and attend bi-monthly meetings, with the next meeting scheduled for Saturday, January 7 in Easton, focusing on the anti-bullying campaign.

”’No Name Calling Day’ is both needed and significant, because it’s crucial for our peers to understand the detrimental effects that bullying leaves on an individual, both short and long term,” said James Villalobos, Governor’s Youth Council representative from Hampden County. “Words hurt, so we need to use this day to reflect on the things we say and how it can affect someone.”

“This idea needs to be spread to young people to empower them to help end aggressive behaviors,” said Fallon Rice, Governor’s Youth Council representative from Barnstable County. “Every student out there can help so victims don’t feel worthless and forgotten. So let’s do what we can to break the chain of aggression, to end the hurt and save lives.”

A year before the first Governor’s Statewide Youth Council was formed, Governor Patrick visited a Dorchester neighborhood in Boston that had experienced high levels of youth violence. There, the Governor was challenged by a young woman and members of Dorchester’s B.O.L.D. TEENS to provide a voice for youth in shaping the policies that affected them. Governor Patrick met the challenge by forming a working group, comprised of state and private sector employees, and together with the Governor’s Office of Community Affairs, conducted a vigorous search and extensive application process resulting in the selection of the 28 members of the first Statewide Youth Council.