Leading Italian American Orgs To Hold Teacher Training Session on Stereotyping at Renbrook School in West Hartford, CT


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, DC – February 3, 2003) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) and UNICO, will conduct a faculty training session on the harmfulness of stereotyping Italian Americans at the Renbrook School, an independent elementary and middle school in West Hartford, Conn.

The session for about 60 faculty and staff is today, Monday, February 3 from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM at the Renbrook School, 2865 Albany Ave., West Hartford.

Roy De Barbieri, Esq, NIAF area coordinator in Connecticut, will meet with Renbrook faculty and staff to discuss how Italian Americans are affected by the current stereotyping of them by the U.S. entertainment, advertising and news media. He will be joined by representatives from OSIA and UNICO.

“The negative stereotyping of ethnic Americans of all groups is destructive to a child’s self-esteem and self-image. The NIAF’s aim is to point out the insidious effect on young Italian Americans who are bombarded by the media with erroneous negative imaging,” said De Barbieri.

The Italian American organizations were invited by Jane Schipp, headmistress of Renbrook School. The school’s initiative stems from an incident which occurred during the “Renbrook Revue,” an evening program of skits written and performed by Renbrook students in October 2002.

One skit, written and performed by ninth graders, attempted to satirize the current Olive Garden restaurant ads on television. An Italian American parent was offended by the skit’s loutish portrayal of Italian Americans and criticized the school in a Hartford Courant op-ed column published in November 2002.

After receiving letters of complaint and messages from concerned private individuals and groups from all over the country, Mrs. Shipp offered to hold the above mentioned faculty training session.