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Our Call to End the Cycle of Violence in Schools

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on April 17, 2009

Last week, the tragic news of 11-year-old Carl Walker Hoover’s suicide stunned us all.  The victim of persistent anti-gay taunts, bullying, and harassment, young Carl took his own life, underscoring the terrifying yet often overlooked rise in damaging bully behavior in our nation’s schools.  Like Carl’s mother who is pushing for more accountability and action, we at CSEE believe that parents, students, and educators can work together to end this destructive cycle.  It starts with acknowledging the issue (rather than dismissing it as “kids being kids”) and creating an environment where students feel safe enough to stand up – as a victim or a bystander – and get the adult support they need before the situation escalates.

April 17, 2009 is a National Day of Silence to bring awareness to the harmful anti-gay harassment that is all too common in our nation’s schools. Visit the Day of Silence website to learn how you can bring attention to Anti-LGBT bullying at your school.

Read School Safety, 10 Years after Columbine, the US News article featuring CSEE President Jonathan Cohen and folks from Princeton and the Department of Education. Read more about Carl Walker Hoover here, here or here.

Learn more about CSEE’s supports for this critical concern and sign up for our newsletter to receive concrete supports on bully prevention, student engagement, and creating positive school climates. You can also sign up at bullybust.org to be part of our anti-bully awareness campaign launching this summer.

We want to hear from you: What is your school or community doing to address bullying? What do you think still needs to be done? 

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Keeping K-12 Schools Safe

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on January 07, 2009

Earlier this week the New York Times published an editorial piece entitled Principal’s Office First. This editorial focused on how police and zero tolerance policies are not enough to make our K-12 schools safe.

The article states that, “While most police officers know how to handle adults, dealing with children and teenagers requires special diplomatic and communications skills. Specialists in child development and juvenile justice need to develop standards, and local police departments need to develop training programs.”

This is a valuable starting point, however I suggest that the article did not go far enough in delineating what we can and need to do to promote socially and emotionally (as well as physically) safe schools. We do now have empirically-based instructional and school-wide guidelines that support people feeling safe in schools (resources below). In fact, it is surprising how many people – teachers and parents included – have not learned how to think in a developmentally-informed manner. Understanding how children and adolescents develop over time is one of the most important steps that adults can take to “connect” with kids.

So what can we do?

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Education + Technology: Smart Anti-Bullying Supports

By Lauren on October 15, 2008

I just read an article about an interesting new platform for anonymous bully reporting called SchoolTipline. Schools can register a basic account at the website and then invite their students to report incidents of bullying & harassment happening around the school through web submissions, text messages or Instant Messages (IMs). Everything is anonymous. Administrators can also use the site to pull logs of all reported incidents, and to create reports for state and district boards. It’s a neat idea. Most interesting to me is that students can report the incidents in ways that actually make sense to them (text messaging, IM, posting on a website), all of which seem less onerous and official than a face-to-face discussion with your guidance counselor. It’s also intriguing that this is all created by a college student, or someone who is seemingly connected to bullying and harassment. (The creator, Justin Bergener, said that the idea for SchoolTipline stemmed from his sister being harassed after reporting a dangerous incident at her school.) But I guess the question is whether something like SchoolTipline will actually work. Will students actually remember to go to the website to report an incident? And what about “revenge-reporting” - couldn’t a website used to combat bullying also be used for cyber-bullying? Apparently over 50 schools are already using the service, so they must be doing something right. How do you think schools should promote this service to students so that they actually use it?

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