"School safety" is a fairly large umbrella. It encompasses the whole school perspective of keeping children safe through practicing fire drills, lockdown drills, and keeping the school in lockout all day long. School safety also includes keeping students safe through the use of anti-bullying programs, school codes of conduct, or school board policies. All of these are important to the school climate. Educators understand that children learn better in a positive and inclusive school climate.
Safety is and always will 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 communitywide discussions, it also has the potential to overlook the voice of educators. Join us throughout February as we look at what educators (teachers, administrators, and counselors) believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but also safe places to teach and learn. What can educators do to implement and reinforce the conditions for learning where students are physically and emotionally safe; learn to manage their emotions and relationships positively; and are connected to the school, community, and caring adults?