Children, School, and Violence: What School Staff Can Do

School staffers know as well as anyone that education includes social skills, problem-solving and relationship-building, as well as standard curriculum. Here are some tips for promoting non-violence and safety in the school environment:

  • Keep school safety and violence prevention high on the education agenda, and build violence prevention into everyday curricula.
  • Establish a clear, consistent definition of violence. Include property destruction, as well as physical and emotional violence, in the definition.
  • Know the safety plans for your district and individual school. Review and revise them yearly, or as needed.
  • Develop and maintain a school safety education binder. Current literature and data on school safety issues should be made available to all staff.
  • Develop school safety policies and update them yearly. Policies and consequences for infractions must be clear, well-understood and accepted by all.
  • Support and promote awareness of “America’s Safe Schools Week,” which is in the third week of October. This is an excellent window for implementing new safety programs at the school.
  • Coordinate violence prevention workshops for staff at your school. Line up speakers from law enforcement, the juvenile justice system and local mental health organizations.
  • Routinely contact parents to tell them of the good things their children are doing. Develop a system to make this happen by phone or notes sent home. Doing so will build positive bridges from school to home.
  • For students, clearly state expectations for behavior, as well as consequences for infractions. Promote an understanding that the purpose of the consequences is not punishment, but change in behavior.
  • Teach and practice tolerance and sensitivity to others. Address lack of sensitivity in your students – do not tolerate teasing, name-calling and exclusionary behaviors.
  • Create a positive school environment where students feel safe, respected and significant. Remember that the school environment includes the walk to school, the playground, the halls, the cafeteria, the bathrooms and every classroom.