At Hamden High School near New Haven, Connecticut, is home to a Human Relations Club that is led by students that transformed school culture.
Through this extracurricular program, students advocate for their school to address issues of racism, sexism, prejudice and stereotyping. This program has many different activities, including an annual prejudice reduction conference, a service learning program, a cultural awareness program, and other activities.
The most popular activity is an annual program where high school students go to middle and elementary schools to teach students about bullying, including bullying prevention, reporting and intervention. Successes of the club include having great numbers of students participation; high percentages of increased student empathy and understanding about racism, stereotyping and prejudice; and increased student body-wide perceptions of their capability to resolve issues important to them.
Research attributes the success of the club, which is more than 20 years old, to the fact that it is student-led.
One researcher wrote, “the more students are involved, the more knowledgeable and confident they become in addressing other human relations issues.” (Willison, 1997)