Bold signs that read “Diversity, Respect and Dignity” lined the gymnasium of Robert Frost Middle School. The eighth-grade class came together to experience a powerful workshop led by motivational speaker Paul D. Failla. A retired twenty-seven year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department, Mr. Failla’s character education program combined humor, role-playing and storytelling to deliver a message of tolerance and human diversity.
 
Mr. Failla drew on real-life experiences and historic events that addressed many of the challenges and stresses young people face at school and in social settings. Through this interactive program, students built self-confidence, self-assuredness and leadership skills while gaining a heightened awareness of the impact made by their decisions on their own and others’ lives. The program encouraged students to build positive relationships with their peers and embrace the differences that make each of them unique.
 
Following the presentation, students reflected on the topics discussed and signed a “No Bully” banner, which will be displayed in the halls of the school.