Okay to Be Different Day 

It was “It’s Okay to Be Different Day” at Newport Elementary School. The day grew its roots over six years ago as part of a bullying prevention program. More than 300 pre K though 4th grade students and volunteers are taking part in this yearly focus conference. The main goal is to promote greater acceptance and inclusion, saying ‘It’s ok to be different.” Each year, an entire day is devoted to workshops introducing children to culture, foods, and challenging gender bias by having female pilots land their blackhawk helicopter on the baseball field. The children collect experience stickers as they go along. Officials admit there is not great diversity at the school, and many children are unaware of differences at this age, but they say now is the time for students to be introduced to the idea of tolerance. Workshops force kids to consider the other side, what it feels like to be bullied. The hope is these kids will never face intolerance and racism in their lifetimes, but if they do, days like these will help them have the skills to cope and sometimes prevent bullying.