Words Matter – Ending Discriminatory Language in Schools Together

Harmony Movement is launching a comprehensive project to equip educators, school administrators, and board staff with the tools and skills necessary to effectively address harmful language in schools.


The Problem We're Tackling

Harmful and discriminatory language in schools is a pervasive issue that threatens the well-being and academic growth of students. Derogatory remarks, slurs, and discriminatory speech based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability create an environment of discrimination, bullying, and psychological distress. This toxic atmosphere not only undermines students’ emotional safety but also perpetuates systemic inequalities, hindering academic success and personal development.

The statistics are alarming:

  • 40% of educators report an increase in daily incidents of harmful/discriminatory language in schools.
  • 58% of youth say they have seen peers insulted, bullied, or excluded based on their race or ethnicity at school.
  • 48% of students hear slurs daily.

The impacts of these words on individual students and the whole school is immense as it generates a culture where students and educators are less likely to bring their full authentic, best self. Rather than feeling empowered and ready to learn students feel devalued. 

As one student shared, “Some kids will walk around the school saying racial slurs and teachers will hear and say nothing.” In another school students in the GSA don’t feel safe in their classrooms or walking through the halls because the heterosexist/homophobic comments and reactions are so prevalent and overwhelming.

Our Solution

With the support of our passionate, committed network of 80 educators from across Ontario and Canada Harmony Movement is launching a comprehensive project to equip educators, school administrators, and board staff with the tools and skills necessary to effectively address harmful language in schools. Our project includes the development and dissemination of educational resources, training programs, and collaborative initiatives to create inclusive school environments.

By empowering educators and staff to intervene and respond appropriately to instances of harmful language, students will begin to take more accountability for their words and actions, ensuring that every member of the school community is contributing culture of respect and inclusion within schools.

The Barrier We’re Overcoming

Despite the urgent need to address harmful language in schools, many educators and administrators lack the necessary resources and training to tackle this issue effectively. There are significant gaps in knowledge, policies, and practices related to the use of harmful language.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 to develop and implement a robust pledge campaign that includes social media, educational videos, training sessions, and comprehensive toolkits. This funding will enable us to create and distribute these resources, ensuring that every school can participate in fostering a positive and inclusive culture.

This fall we want 50 school communities to join us in shifting their school culture by signing the Words Matter pledge and committing to the following actions:

  • Provide ongoing comprehensive educator training on addressing discriminatory language in schools
  • Educators pledge to intervene and educate every time they hear discriminatory language
  • Educators to lead classroom level discussions on harmful language and how students can make a difference
  • Students pledge to avoid using harmful language and to speak up when they encounter it

Your Role As An Ally

By contributing to our campaign, you become an ally in the fight against discrimination and bullying in schools. Your support will directly impact students’ lives by helping to create a safe and inclusive environment where they can flourish academically and personally. Your generosity will provide educators and administrators with the tools they need to address harmful language and promote respect and understanding among students. Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of countless young people.

Rewards for Your Contribution

To show our appreciation for your support, we offer the following rewards:

  • $25 Contribution: A personalized thank-you card and free toolkit download.
  • $100 Contribution: All of the above plus your name listed on our website as a supporter.
  • $250 Contribution: All of the above plus a “Words Matter” button.
  • $500 Contribution: All of the above plus a “Social Changemakers” T-shirt.
  • $1,000 Contribution: All of the above plus an invitation to attend our virtual Fall Forum and a copy of our comprehensive Educator Toolkit.
  • $5,000 Contribution: All of the above plus a free consultation with Harmony Movement for an organization or company.

Join us in making a lasting impact on school culture by supporting this important campaign. Your contribution will help ensure that every student can learn in an environment free from harmful and discriminatory language. Together, we can create schools where all students feel valued, respected, and empowered.