Strategies and Plans for a Safe and Caring School Ohio School Social Work Association
“What students want is a school where it is apparent to all that the staff is constantly trying to make things better. This strong ‘We care’ message is the foundation of quality.” William Glasser ‘We care’
Purpose of Today Understand schoolplace violence Create a safe and caring school Learn how to reclaim our youth Understand the new generation of students
Research is Showing That Our Students ARE Different Today
“… contemporary society is creating a number of children at risk for relational impairment.” Dr. Larry Brendtro
Unhealthy Environments FACTORS By age 16, the typical child has viewed 2,000,000 acts of violence and approximately 30,000 murders/attempted murders on television Media Drugs MusicVideo Games TV
Learned Irresponsibility Anthropologist Ruth Benedict criticized our culture for excluding youth from responsibility only to blame them for their irresponsibility. Children who believe their needs will not be met Children who are given everything and have everything taken care of for them
Lack of Purpose “ Millions of children are not safe physically, educationally, economically or spiritually…the poor youths who shoot up drugs on the street corners and the rich youths who do the same thing in their mansions share a common disconnectedness from any hope or purpose.” Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund Children used to know the answer to “why am I here”
“It was never our job to bond with these kids, it should be the families, but more and more the role is falling to the schools.” Dr. Larry Brendtro
Purpose of Today Understand schoolplace violence Understand the new generation of students
Schoolplace Violence “ Although overall incidents of violence in schools are decreasing, episodes of schoolplace violence are increasing in intensity and have become a trend. Columbine has forever changed the way we do business” Dr. John Nicoletti
“Traditional” School Violence Pushing, shoving, fistfights, vandalism This form of violence has been decreasing and was seldom fatal.
Current Trends in Schoolplace Violence Increasing intensity More casualties Multiple perpetrators Introduction of bombs in addition to guns
Parallels: School and Workplace Violence Almost all made threatening statements History of perceived injustices, minimal social support and poor adjustment All perpetrators gave indications and warnings that they were about to become violent “It is never a surprise and it never will be.”
From Pollyanna to Paranoia Experts believe that this type of violence is highly predictable in its nature and course and that, with understanding, there are steps we can take to intervene and prevent it.
Early Warning Signs There is not a single variable capable of predicting violence. We can assume that the more traits or behaviors the person has, the greater the probability that he may act violently.
Early Warning Signs Isolation --Social withdrawal --Feelings of rejection Sense of victimization School Issues Preoccupation with weapons/violence Escalation of inappropriate behaviors
Threats of Violence Types of threats --Direct threats --Conditional threats --Veiled threats “Before they do it, they are going to tell you they are going to do it, and tell you in a number of ways.”
Formula for Violence T ime O pportunity A bility D esire S timulus
Time Period of time needed to complete an act of violence including: --Formulating and designing a plan --Overcoming inhibitions to violence --Executing the act Look for evidence of “practicing behaviors” or rehearsal aimed at decreasing inhibition.
Opportunity The chance or opening, that allows access to the target Includes access to guns and other weapons Encourage a climate where students report any threats or inappropriate behaviors to school personnel.
Ability The level of threat increases with the student’s ability to commit a violent act. Ability is determined by: --Intelligence --Creativity --Experience with weaponry --Organizational skills “They will tell you about their abilities.”
Desire The willingness to inflict injury or death must be present at a significant level for violence to occur. Desire builds within the individual to a point where it’s overwhelming and they feel a sense of urgency to act out. “We can intervene to decrease desire.”
Stimulus An event or series of events that serve as a trigger: --Suspensions or expulsions --Losses, especially involving humiliation or loss of self-esteem --Break-ups of relationships, especially for adolescents
The Role of Protectors Recognize early signs of at-risk youth Address or report all threats or any behavioral observations that concern you Help to Minimize T-O-A-D-S Be familiar with Crisis Plan
Purpose of Today Understand the new generation of students Understand schoolplace violence Create a safe school environment
How Do We Facilitate a Safe, Caring and Responsive School? Effective teaching Connecting with each child Meaningful and challenging curriculum Community collaboration, support and education Common and consistent standards of conduct
“Powerful teachers do lots of little things to prevent problems from starting in the first place.” Erickson “Lead teachers do not coerce: they talk to their students and work out ways to solve problems. Courtesy is the core…being kind, listening, not criticizing, no sarcasm.” William Glasser “Every child needs one adult who is irrationally crazy about them” Dr. Larry Brendtro
Purpose of Today Understand the new generation of students Understand schoolplace violence Create a safe school environment Learn how to reclaim our youth
“ Violence will be reduced in our micro-level interactions with kids.” Jim Fay Our goal is to put “trees” in front of students whenever they cross boundaries of respect and responsibility.
Students Need to Have a Sense of Belonging “Kids need to find supportive relationships. If not in school they will do whatever it takes in the neighborhood or even in cyber-space.” Betsy Geddes
Relationship Technology Relationship is an action, not a feeling Crisis is Opportunity Loving the Unlovable Disengaging from the Conflict Cycle Earning the Trust of Youth
Relationship Technology Relationship Building is an Endurance Event Respect Begets Respect Teaching Joy The Invitation to Belong Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Five Bonding Techniques -- Creating Deposits Handshake – physical touch Eye contact Smile – once they smile they are yours! Use their name Time – spend time with kids. Time you spend in the hallways is a deposit!
Relationship Bank Account Because You Will Make Withdrawals - Create More Positive Deposits!
When children feel confident, motivation for further achievement is enhanced. Need to develop cognitive, physical, social and emotional competence. Success and mastery produce social recognition and inner satisfaction.
Mastery Brain-Friendly Learning Encourages active, not passive learning Is nonthreatening Is experiential Is social: Learner’s Clubs Co-operative learning Use of conversation and discussion, not lecture and recitation.
Independence Give Responsibility to Teach Responsibility Use discipline, not punishment “Guide with influence” Modeling, group influence, discussion, positive expectations
Independence Demand greatness, not obedience Communicate belief in the young person’s ability to control his or her life Mobilize the power of peers----Peer helpers, peer counseling, youth self-government Tap their spirit of adventure---- Wilderness adventure, ropes courses, etc.
Planned use of service learning, links academic learning with real human needs Should be exciting and spontaneous Direct people to people service is most powerful Challenging projects appeal to the strength of young people
Generosity Examples: Help with Special Olympics Buy groceries for needy families with money accumulated for stopping vandalism at school Chop firewood for the disabled Organize programs for daycare or nursing home facilities
In every city and hamlet, schools could become the new “tribes” to support and nurture children and adolescents at risk. Dr. Larry Brendtro
“The No. 1 protective factor against school violence is having a student feel connected to his school and that he fits in.” Dr. Keith King University of Cincinnati
Credits Dr. Larry Brendtro, et. al., Reclaiming Youth at Risk, 605-647-5244 Dr. John Nicoletti and Dr. Kelly Zinna, Violence Comes to School, 1-303-989-1617 Strategies for Angry, Disruptive or Violent Youth, School Consultant Services, Inc., Golden, Colorado