It is not possible to legislate civility or punish young people into being tolerant. Despite the best efforts of legislators and educators, far too many schools experience high levels of bullying, intolerance and cyberbullying.
Evidence and experience call for a change in direction, priorities and the allocation of resources. Schools will not become safer without a new approach, one that focuses on the fundamental determinants affecting school climate:
- the organizational leadership
- the discipline policies and practices
- the staff and students and their relationships with each other
A Crisis of Indifference
As recent events have demonstrated, bullying, cyberbullying and other forms of mistreatment are getting meaner, are occurring at younger ages, are harder for adults to identify and have a high cost. Worse, the growing indifference and increase in bystander behavior has had the unintended consequence of "normalizing" incivility and intolerance.
A Solution That Works
An inside-out approach focuses on the interpersonal dynamics, the relationships among the people in the school as the fundamental way to improve school safety and climate. It is based on years of research, development and testing and consists of four focal elements:
- Formative and Restorative Policies
- Student-centered Practices
- Social Norms Change.
Successfully implementing the inside-out approach requires making school climate the foundation-the ‘bricks and mortar’-for building safe, thriving and high performing schools.
Importance of School Climate
Climate is the ever-present sense of belonging and connectedness people experience on a school campus. The climate influences individual behavior and performance... and more importantly, WE influence the climate.
Whole School Climate Framework
The Whole School Climate Framework, developed by Community Matters, helps educational leaders develop a clear and cost-effective blueprint for achieving the educational outcomes that have proven so elusive in recent reform efforts.
Call to Action
In the face of decreasing budgets and increasing challenges, our children and youth need us more than ever. It is time for bold and decisive action - to move forward in partnership to implement solutions.