Tagged “Safe Schools”

Stephen Sroka

School Safety Lessons Learned: From Cleveland to Newtown

I dealt with school violence before it was fashionable and funded. To me, any child killed anywhere, anytime, is a huge tragedy. But decades ago, when children were killed in the inner city of Cleveland, you probably never heard about them. When the killings moved to suburbs such as Columbine, they became national news. The Newtown shootings shocked the United States like no other school violence. Now, school violence prevention is front-page news. Working with school safety for more than 30 years, I have tried to help schools and communities keep our youth safe and healthy so that they can learn more and live better. Here are several lessons that I have learned.

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Paula Mirk

Respect, Compassion, and Fairness in Schools

The current debate about school safety, as tragic as recent events may be, risks derailing the positive direction we need to go in as a nation if we want to uphold the broadest purpose of education: What kind of people are we preparing to lead society into the future? The very sad incident in Newtown was the result of one individual's mental impairment and a variety of factors—including his access to weapons—that happened to come together in a perfect storm at an elementary school. But if our response is to arm our schools, I'm afraid that by that logic we must also arm our cinemas and arm our supermarket parking lots. The list will go on and on. In other words, the Newtown issue is not so much about school shootings as it is about a shooting that took place at a school, like many others that have taken place in many other environments.

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Thom Markham

Only Whole Children Can Make Schools Safe

In the long term, there is just one answer to the problem of school safety: more love. The short term solution, on the other hand, lies in the unhealthy mix of force, fear, guns, security, locks, and other devices meant to barricade our children from a small, but obviously lethal, subset of the population.

I'll leave the short-term answers to parents and politicians. Instead, let's support advances in education that take us closer to the ultimate goal of raising, nurturing, and educating children who feel psychologically safe. That, really, is the sole purpose of whole child education.

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Jason Ellingson

Safer, Not Safe

Safety. Before the Sandy Hook tragedy, we thought we knew what safe meant at Collins-Maxwell. We are a small, rural community school district in Iowa serving 500 students with an elementary school in one town and a secondary school in another. We are a community that knows each other; we are open, inviting, welcoming, and trusting. We usually know the people who come into buildings, and we trust that those we do not know are here for a valid purpose.

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Sean Slade

Improving Schools: School Safety

This month we are focusing on school safety, where the initial thought is to discuss physical safety as a reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Yet, in looking back over the articles written recently, there is less about physical safety and more about positive school climate, supportive environments, open doors, and inviting the community into schools.

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Marc Cohen

Our Children Are Counting on Us

As the education world around us continues to spiral through the misguided insanity of testing as both the academic means and the end, I remain steadfast in my determination to provide whatever I can to ensure that each and every student who walks through the door of my school has equitable access to high-quality instruction and is provided the kinds of learning opportunities that nurture academic risk-taking, critical inquiry, and principled reflection. In short, I expect for my students the same as I expect for my own children. I want them equipped to make a consciously positive impact on the world around them. We need to spend at least as much time developing the self-efficacy, collaboration, and problem-solving skills they will need to make this happen as we do preparing (enabling) them for success on our current professional obsession—the high-stakes standardized assessment.

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Sam Chaltain

Making Schools Safer in the Wake of Sandy Hook

As policymakers search for the best way to respond to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., educators and parents across the country are left to wonder—what can we do to make our schools safe?

The lessons of Sandy Hook Elementary School can help us answer that question in two ways: one that is uncomfortable, and one that is essential.

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Sean Slade

Safer Schools for Living, Growing, and Learning

Often when people talk about the basics of education, they refer to the three Rs: reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic. However, an even more foundational aspect to educating students is ensuring that schools are safe.

If a school isn't a safe place, then it can't be a school as we know it—a place to learn and grow. If a school isn't a safe place, it becomes reactive to incidents, and teaching and learning become a secondary or forgotten imperative.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

How Can We Make Our Schools Safer?

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Safety is and will always be a fundamental concern for schools. Students who aren't or don't feel safe at school cannot learn, and schools must ensure that their environments are both secure and supportive. The current debate on school safety brings with it a renewed interest in addressing safety, school climate, and mental health concerns at schools and promises to improve school policy and practice.

Yet while the current debate has engaged the nation in community-wide discussions, it also has the potential to overlook the voices of educators. In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, host Sean Slade and guests discuss what we, as educators, believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but safe places to teach and learn. You'll hear from

  • Joseph Bergant II, superintendent of Chardon Schools in Ohio;
  • Howard Adelman, professor of psychology at UCLA and codirector of the School Mental Health Project and the Center for Mental Health in Schools (a whole child partner); and
  • Jonathan Cohen, adjunct professor in psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and president and cofounder of whole child partner National School Climate Center.

What is required for students and adults to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe in school? What two or three things are fundamental to achieving safety in school?

John M. Eger

WANTED: Schools Wired for Safety

Many years ago, John Gage, then chief science officer for Sun Microsystems, had an idea. The idea was "NetDay," a grassroots campaign to wire U.S. schools.

Gage, like so many others today, was frustrated that our schools were not getting connected to the Internet fast enough and that a whole generation of young people would suffer. The NetDay concept has grown, and the campaign to wire our schools led to the concept of "smart schools," schools fully equipped with a computer on every desktop and broadband access to the Internet.

So much for the history of the smart school. Less clear is how safe even our smartest schools are in light of recurring school violence, a national epidemic, really. The entire nation is now searching for solutions.

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