June 2005, Operation Respect & the Don’t Laugh At Me Program selected Walnut Middle School, Grand Island, Nebraska as one of five schools in the United States and Canada to receive recognition as a model for positive change in schools. On June 30-July 1, 2005 at Operation Respect’s national symposium in Washington, D.C. representatives from Walnut Middle School  presented their results which highlighted the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project.  Participants included national and state education organizations, leading government officials, educators, and researchers.  The goal of the symposium was to demonstrate conclusively that schools can transform their environment.