School Programs

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with great gratitude to those who have lighted the flame within us."  -Albert Schweitzer

Our school selection process is based on the school's strong willingness and commitment to enhance its school climate. We believe this work, to be truly successful, requires a top-down and bottom-up approach from the school leadership, staff and teachers that engages students, parents and the community. We believe that a school that has laid the foundation for this work by exhibiting a commitment to character education and by already creating a safe environment for your children to learn and grow will be the most successful using our program. 

The “Don’t Laugh at Me” program

Operation Respect’s school-based program, “Don’t Laugh At Me” (DLAM), along with additional researched-based social and emotional learning and character development curricula, fosters a caring, accepting, ridicule-free and bully-free school and community environment for children and adults alike. Peter Yarrow of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary and long-time activist, founded Operation Respect and the program which has been introduced to over 22,000 schools throughout the United States and all over the world.

The anthem of the program is the “Don’t Laugh at Me” song. Yarrow best described its impact after he discovered the song written by Steve Seskin at a folk festival. He said, “I knew I had just discovered a song that could become an anthem of a movement to help children find their common sensitivity to the painful effects of disrespect, intolerance, ridicule, and bullying.”

The Foundation for Respect Ability is modeled after Operation Respect and is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a kinder and gentler world for children to learn and grow. McGraw Hill Education provides all the learning material free of charge. The program consists of seven steps to success at last for a full school year.

For further information or to receive a school survey to fill out to determine next steps, please call Diane Benson, Executive Director, at 704.438.9798 or send an email request to

Select Schools 2013-2014 school year:

Crown Point Elementary School


School assembly at Crown Point starting the year off with song!


East Lincoln Middle School

 2012-2013 Select Schools:

Winterfield Elementary School kick-off assembly for students and staff

Winterfield has embraced the program and you can see evidence throughout the entire school.

The staff performs for the students at the Lake Wylie Elementary School assembly

Staff Professional Development Training at Lake Wylie

Click here to check out all the songs the chidren have written this year at Lake Wylie along with Mr. Sid!

Students sharing their thoughts at Selwyn Elementary School assembly