Wall of Intolerance- What if….

During my visit this past January to the Graded School, in São Paulo, Brazil, I met Jamie Tuttle  Middle School Guidance Counselor. He told me about an incident at their International School and the response as a community:

We found our world map defaced with several derogatory and racist remarks. The following words and statements were written on the map:


It shocked our international school and we knew that something needed to be done. An 8th grade student brought up the idea of working together as a school to create a new world map. As the conversations about this idea grew, we felt that we needed to confront the issue of bullying and how racist and derogatory words can be very damaging to an individual and a community. We decided to confront these issues by creating a Wall of Intolerance.

Jamie also shared with me their idea of documenting and sharing the occurrence and the process of “doing something about it” in order to not let a problem being hushed up.  The Graded community produced a documentary and I am thrilled to be able to share it with Langwitches’ readers.

In addition, Jeff Lippman, the Middle School principal of the Graded School also created a flipped lesson on Ted Ed for the Wall of Intolerance documentary.

This documentary shows the process that our Middle School went through when we discovered that our world map had been defaced with racist, xenophobic and classist graffiti. In a truly collaborative effort between students, teachers and administration, we confronted issues of discrimination and bullying and moved forward together as a community by tearing down hatred and building a new world map

I am wondering how other schools could benefit beyond just taking the idea of the “Wall of Intolerance” as a resource or model for their own schools?  I am thinking… what if….

  • What if… we create a collaborative Wall of Intolerance?
  • What if … we connect students across geography and tear down their Wall of Intolerance  (via Skype or Google Hangout)?
  • What if … we crowdsourced testimonials/how to guides on how to grow from being a (passive) bystander to a(n) (active) ally.
  • What if… we create a meme, a chain that is being passed on to other schools to add their perspectives, stories, solutions, actions, thoughts.