PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

The Diversity Initiative: How We Are Teaching Tolerance and Kindness at BSI

Dear Families,


As we continue the year and reflect,  we want to ensure that BSI continues to provide a safe learning environment for all of our students.  We are taking a close look at our school culture with the students. This includes setting clear standards for behavior, reminding students about our core values and teaching students what we, “BSI Community” are all about.  We are also incorporating restorative justice practices in this initiative.


Our hope is that all students at BSI feel welcome and are happy to come to school each and every day. In the upcoming week, we will explore the idea of making fun of or jokes about students through a school-wide read aloud, Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig.  Jokes can be hurtful!  In the book, D.J. is constantly being teased by Vince.  Vince feels that simply saying “just kidding,” makes everything okay.  What Vince doesn’t realize is that his jokes are really hurting D.J.’s feelings.   Just Kidding is a great book to use to teach students that having fun at someone else’s expense is not okay, even if it is followed by the phrase, “just kidding”. This book also highlights the difference between “tattling” and reporting when someone is in trouble.


We will discuss this book throughout the week with all students in conjunction with other Tribes activities. We hope that all of our students understand the strong message of this book: any type of teasing, unkindness, and bullying will not be tolerated.  We seek to prevent any and all situations in which students are not being treated respectfully. We want all students to know that there are adults and students in the building that children can go to for help and that it is important for us to continue to learn about one another and to respect our differences. We are confident that this book will propel us forward in our kindness initiative.


Below is a list of vocabulary that we will cover if you would like to lead a discussion around the topic at home.

Vocabulary Words

Harassment Glared Horse around Ridicule
Intervention Ignore Lame Innocent-like
Disability Squirm Body language Teasing
Pranced Tattling Agitated


Stay tuned for pictures, videos and more updates on how the class visits went.