Safe Schools & Communities Resources
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Safe Schools & Communities Resources
This collection includes resources for improving school climate, health, safety, and connectedness.   Readers are encouraged to explore related links for further information.  For upcoming events and community resources specific to Santa Clara County, check out: For additional resource collections, please see Educator Resources tab on
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Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning //

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning // | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation’s leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students. Our mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Through research, practice and policy, CASEL collaborates to ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society."


Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:36 AM

These are goals parents, communities and educators at all levels should strive to acheive. 

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High School Students Need 'Webs' of Supportive Adults, Study Says // High School & Beyond // Education Week

High School Students Need 'Webs' of Supportive Adults, Study Says // High School & Beyond // Education Week | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"We've long known that adolescents need supportive relationships to help them stay in school through tough times. A new study, published Wednesday, argues that having an "anchor" and a "web" of support—rather than one person to act as a "hero"—can boost adolescents' chances of staying in school.

Like other researchers who have probed the dynamics that prompt students to leave school, America's Promise Alliance has consistently seen that the presence of caring adults is pivotal. Following up its 2014 report, "Don't Call Them Dropouts," the organization decided to focus on finding out more about what students need from those relationships. The result is "Don't Quit on Me," released today.


The bottom line? Relationships matter. But the type, source, and intensity matter, too, if they're going to serve as effective buffers against leaving school.

"They told us they need respect, not judgment. They need resources—bus passes, a ride to school, a meal, a job, a chance. They need people to show care through actions, not advice. They need an anchor, not a hero. And they need a web of support, a healthy, supportive community of their own," America's Promise Alliance President and CEO John Gomperts writes in the introduction to the report."....

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What Kids Need to Hear About Race and Violence — But Many Schools Won’t Touch //  Washington Post

What Kids Need to Hear About Race and Violence — But Many Schools Won’t Touch //  Washington Post | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Valerie Strauss
"There are plenty of resources available for educators and parents to help them engage young people in conversations about race, racism and police violence. I published such a list this week, which you can find here. But this post is about a mindset in too many schools where the adults don’t want to engage students in discussions about such sensitive issues — even though many educators believe it is as important as anything else kids learn in school.

This is a personal story by Trakela Small, an English teacher who has worked at private, public and charter schools for the past six years. She recently became an administrator at a charter school. She says her passion for social justice led into the field of education — and keeps her there.

This article, which was originally published on the Educator’s Room blog here and which I have permission to republish, speaks specifically to the deaths of a number of black men at the hands of white police officers. They include the deaths last week of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota; the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in the custody of police in Baltimore; Michael Brown, who was killed in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed in 2014 in Cleveland; John Crawford in 2014 in Ohio; and Walter Scott, killed in 2015 in South Carolina."

By Trakela Small

"Look around your school. Who would be the person to talk to your students about race and how it affects minorities? Who would start the conversation about Alton Sterling or Philando Castile?

If you cannot think of anyone, there is an issue. If you don’t think children need to discuss racially charged incidents, there is an even bigger issue.

Minority children are now the majority of students in the United States. Hispanic and black children are historically among the most under-served children of the American education system. In the same vein, Hispanic and black people are disproportionately victims of police brutality. They are killed at rates that far exceed their makeup of the American population.

So why aren’t some schools talking to students about police brutality? And what does this mean for retaining teachers of color?

What happens to minority teachers when schools ignore race

I’ll illustrate my point with a personal story. Two years ago, I began teaching eighth-grade English in a school year that spanned the high-profile killings of Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice and John Crawford. In the fall of that school year, we were reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

After my initial shock from the tragedies wore off, I waited for the school leaders to reach out to staff. I expected them to help us sort through how to have hard conversations with students. I was the only black teacher in the middle school, which meant the kids with questions came to me first. A week or so later, leadership told us teachers to steer away from “politically charged” conversations. These conversations were not “age-appropriate” for middle-school students.

For a long time, my colleagues were silent. They continued their conversations of the merits of smoked paprika and Gouda cheese during lunch. I slowly withered. I lost my appetite for my food and their fellowship. Here and there, teachers awkwardly discussed the issues at lunch. But no one expressed the value in talking about anything with the children.

The violence of silence

By the time Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore in April 2015, the continued silence of my school’s leaders sealed my decision to leave the school. The fact that leadership advised us to say nothing to children let me know teaching was the right thing (teaching), but I was in the wrong place. I had already signed a contract to return a couple of months earlier, so I decided to come back for a final year. I also knew I was one of three black teachers at the school. I was not ready to leave such a gaping void in the faculty. But I was carrying one in my heart.

In the winter of the following school year, I informed our leadership of my plans: I wanted to move on. I mentioned that I would like to discuss their plans to recruit more teachers of color. My question sat at the bottom of my intent form, which they had read before our meeting. My inquiry was a glaring accusation of their unwillingness to aggressively seek, to value black and Hispanic teachers. However, leadership chose silence again. They wished me the best of luck in my future endeavors and swiftly dismissed my concern. I effectively reduced the number of black teachers by a third. I found out the school hired a white woman to fill the position. This cycle would probably continue, and I was taking my voice away from my students.

Why schools avoid hard topics about race

The modus operandi to close the educational gap is an urgency for achievement so severe that it does not leave room to address students’ humanity. In schools where teachers call children scholars all day, it is easy to forget they are humans who have to live in a world outside the school walls. In a school where the staff does not look like the children it teaches, it is easy to avoid conversations about race. Many schools choose silence when police brutality reduces black people to hashtags. This is not without consequence to children.

Too many urban schools, populated by an overwhelming number of white teachers, simply do not have enough people in leadership who can speak from an authentic place about race. A person who has only ever lived in the eye of a tornado cannot easily talk about the damage one leaves. The silence that follows has lasting effects on minority staff members and the children that education reform is under-serving. This silence creates a physical discomfort, an emotional chasm that is empty and full at the same time. Teachers, with the best intentions, sell children on the lie that striving for college will change their lives. Teachers do a poor job telling black and brown children about the world that succeeds in stealing their lives and then excuse the theft as a natural disaster.

What we need to do

It’s never too late to change our mindsets about what children need to hear us say to them. We need a decolonization of schools and minds. When a school offers little more than WASP values and college preparedness, the school is not educating the whole child. A school cannot ignore reality for the sake of political correctness. Teachers need guidance on how to communicate world events to the students who deal with these issues when the final bell rings.

School leadership, no matter the ethnic makeup, must be fearless in how it navigates racial and social climates. Many schools are continuing to under-serve these students by choosing to ignore the societal issues that singularly affect minorities. We have to be brave enough to tackle the uncomfortable problems with the children who will one day grow up to change the world. Otherwise, we are no more than cowardly hypocrites."...


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Brief Intervention To Encourage Empathic Discipline Cuts Suspension Rates in Half Among Adolescents // Okonofua, Paunesku & Walton, 2016 // Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Brief Intervention To Encourage Empathic Discipline Cuts Suspension Rates in Half Among Adolescents // Okonofua, Paunesku & Walton, 2016 // Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |


There is increasing concern about rising discipline citations in K–12 schooling and a lack of means to reduce them. Predominant theories characterize this problem as the result of punitive discipline policies (e.g., zero-tolerance policies), teachers’ lack of interpersonal skills, or students’ lack of self-control or social–emotional skills. By contrast, the present research examined teachers’ mindsets about discipline. A brief intervention aimed at encouraging an empathic mindset about discipline halved student suspension rates over an academic year. This intervention, an online exercise, can be delivered at near-zero marginal cost to large samples of teachers and students. These findings could mark a paradigm shift in society’s understanding of the origins of and remedies for discipline problems.



Growing suspension rates predict major negative life outcomes, including adult incarceration and unemployment. Experiment 1 tested whether teachers (n = 39) could be encouraged to adopt an empathic rather than punitive mindset about discipline—to value students’ perspectives and sustain positive relationships while encouraging better behavior. Experiment 2 tested whether an empathic response to misbehavior would sustain students’ (n = 302) respect for teachers and motivation to behave well in class. These hypotheses were confirmed. Finally, a randomized field experiment tested a brief, online intervention to encourage teachers to adopt an empathic mindset about discipline. Evaluated at five middle schools in three districts (teachers = 31; students = 1,682), this intervention halved year-long student suspension rates from 9.6% to 4.8%. It also bolstered respect the most at-risk students, previously suspended students, perceived from teachers. Teachers’ mindsets about discipline directly affect the quality of teacher–student relationships and student suspensions and, moreover, can be changed through scalable intervention."...


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Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics

Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |
Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels


Policy and commentary published in Pediatrics detail the impacts of media violence on children, including aggressive behavior and victimization

Virtual violence – violence experienced via media or realistic technologies – is an inescapable component of children's lives, and research shows that without guidance or controls it has the power to make children more aggressive, violent and fearful.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will publish a policy statement, "Virtual Violence," in the August 2016 issue of Pediatrics (released online July 18), which reviews the evidence of how virtual violence impacts children, and offers guidance to parents, media producers and pediatricians. A related commentary published in the same issue expands on the impacts of social media, smart phones and apps like Instagram and YouTube on virtual violence and teens.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned about the impact that virtual violence has on children, and we know that parents are also concerned, because it's a question that pediatricians often receive during wellness exams," said Dimitri Christakis, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement. "Pediatricians can let parents know that there are ways to mitigate the impact of media violence, by co-viewing games and movies with their kids, making a media plan for their family and protecting children under age 6 from all violent media."

Media violence is very common. In the year 2000, every G-rated movie contained violence, as did 60 percent of prime-time television shows, according to a study published in JAMA. A comprehensive assessment of screen violence in 1998 estimated that by middle school a typical child would have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence, including rape and assault. Today, children experience screen violence though an even greater number of devices and platforms.

"With the advent of smart phones and aps like Snapchat and Instagram, children can capture, view and share violent acts in ways that are new to millennials and centennials," said Rhea Boyd, MD, FAAP, a member of the Executive Committee of the AAP Council on Communications and Media and lead author of the Pediatrics commentary, "The Evolution of Virtual Violence: How Mobile Screens Provide Windows to Real Violence."

"Nearly three out of four teenagers have access to a smart phone, and exposure to real-world violence via these devices, often without parental knowledge or control, can create feelings of distress, victimization and even fear," Dr. Boyd said.

In the Pediatrics commentary, Dr. Boyd and her co-author, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, argue that portable smartphone cameras can expose young people to real-world violence, which is fundamentally different than the simulated violence depicted in traditional media sources, like television, movies, or video games. This access to real-world violence can result in complex emotions and behaviors in youth that may vary based on the family, community, or cultural group with whom youth identify and process acts of violence. For example, a teenager viewing a video of police violence may be distressed by the images but also moved to social action.

While hundreds of studies have found violent media can raise aggression in children, research has also shown that exposing children to prosocial media content can decrease aggression and improve overall behavior.

The AAP recommends:

  • Pediatricians should consider a child's "media diet" as a part of wellness exams, considering not just the quantity of media but also the quality.
  • Parents should be mindful of their child's media consumption, and should co-view media and co-play games with their children.
  • Protect children under age 6 from all virtual violence, because they cannot always distinguish fantasy from reality.
  • Policy-makers should consider legislation to prohibit easy access to violent content for minors and should create a robust and useful "parent-centric" media rating system.
  • Pediatricians should advocate for and help create child-positive media, collaborating with the entertainment industry on shows and games that don't include violence as a central theme.
  • The entertainment industry should create content that doesn't glamorize guns or violence, doesn't use violence as a punch line and eliminates gratuitous portrayals of violence and hateful, misogynistic or homophobic language unless also portraying the impacts of these words and actions.
  • In video games, humans or living targets should never be shot for points.
  • The news media should acknowledge the proven scientific connection between virtual violence and real world aggression and stop portraying the link as controversial.


The policy updates a previous statement published in 2009.

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Healing Together: Community-Level Trauma. Its Causes, Consequences, and Solutions // Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute

Click here to download pdf of document:

Creatrixi54's curator insight, August 21, 2015 6:46 PM

This is how #hiphopbasededu #hiphoptherapy will pave the way for new ways to engage and heal the people. 

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A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students

A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

BY Meredith Kolodner, Hechinger Report
"NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Having racked up multiple up absences and missed assignments, a high school sophomore showed up in his English class last year, hopeful for another chance. “Where have you been?” his teacher asked. “You can’t pass this class if you don’t show up.” Without warning, the young man exploded.


“Shut the f— up,” the 16-year-old shouted. “You think you’re better than me? Who the f— do you think you are?” He stormed out of the room.

As the screaming and the swearing escalated in the hall, the Metropolitan Business Academy principal, Judith Puglisi, was called. She approached the student. “What do you need?” she asked in an almost-whisper. He kept yelling and pacing, and Puglisi walked with him, she recalled.

After she quietly repeated her question close to a dozen times, he turned to her and said, “I need to come to your office.” There, Puglisi and the assistant principal listened to him shout until he began to cry, telling them that his stepfather had beaten him since he was 7. “I am sick of people calling me a loser,” he said.

The student was not suspended, which would be normal protocol at some schools for cursing at a teacher. Instead, he saw a drama therapist trained in trauma at Metropolitan the next day. The day after that, he met with the teacher, apologized and said he knew he had overreacted. He returned to the class immediately after that meeting.


“If you run a school that’s based on punishment and compliance, eventually you’re going to push kids out.” — Judith Puglisi, principal of Metropolitan Business Academy

“Some would say that punishment will extinguish bad behavior, but I would say the opposite,” said Puglisi, who recounted the incident under the condition that the student’s name be withheld for his protection.


Metropolitan is among a small but growing number of schools nationally that are turning the traditional approach to discipline on its head. Instead of trying to get students to leave their personal troubles at the door, these schools help kids cope with what often is a history of trauma. The idea is to catch problems before they become disciplinary issues resulting in suspensions or expulsions.

Metropolitan and a dozen other schools in Connecticut work with Animated Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience (ALIVE), a trauma response program that provides drama therapists to work with teachers to identify trauma, prevent problems from escalating and respond effectively when students do act out. The therapists — who hold master’s degrees with training in psychology and theater — offer one-on-one therapy and use drama and role playing in a mandatory class for freshmen."...


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Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S. (Webinar) 

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S. (Webinar)  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S.

In this webinar, Anthony Petrosino and Sarah Guckenburg, Senior Research Associates at WestEd, describe their research on restorative justice in U.S. schools. They conducted interviews with over 40 experts in the field, surveyed over 150 practitioners nationwide, and conducted a comprehensive literature review. Their research goals were to learn about current practices, essential elements of implementation, and provide recommendations for future research on restorative justice in K-12 settings. 

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Restorative Justice Presentation for Juvenile Justice Prevention & Programs Workgroup // Arash Daneshzadeh 

[Presented at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Prevention and Programs Workgroup, December 11th, 2015 meeting.]  

"A synopsis of various incarnations of Restorative Justice in the Bay Area (SF/Oakland), citing ethnographic and mixed method studies along with theoretical frameworks."

For additional files related to the presentation, please see


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Resources/Research for Strengthening Relationships and School Climate // Town Hall Meeting Presentation Slides

Resources/Research for Strengthening Relationships and School Climate // Town Hall Meeting Presentation Slides | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

This presentation was created for a Town Hall Meeting at Oak Grove High School (March 26th, 2015).


Slides and links are available at: 



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Helping Students Who Have Experienced Trauma // Edutopia

Helping Students Who Have Experienced Trauma // Edutopia | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"When educators talk about "the whole child," we recognize our students as humans with complex lives that include interests, joys, passions, experiences, fears, needs, and hopes. Sometimes their lives may also include traumatic experiences, either in their past or ongoing even as we interact with them day to day.

As a teacher, you have a few ways of finding out that a student has experienced trauma. Some IEPs will incorporate this information. Sometimes a counselor or social worker may fill you in, or a parent or family member. The trauma may be a known part of your community's fabric -- for example, a natural disaster that destroyed a student's home, or a war in the country where your student used to live.

A student may also personally disclose that he or she experienced current or past trauma. For more on responding in the moment, see this guideline from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (PDF), which is specific to abuse but applicable to many types of trauma that a student may disclose. Be sure that you know your state's mandated reporting laws and follow through on any in-school systems that may be in place.

After receiving this information -- in whichever way it comes to you -- now what?

Here are some considerations and steps when integrating it into your practice in a way that best supports your student.

1. Absorb the information.

Take the time you need to process your own response to learning about the trauma, in a place that is safe for you. We all respond in different ways to hearing about our students' experiences with trauma. My own reaction to information about my students' lives has covered a spectrum from sadness to anger, heartbreak to disbelief, and sometimes the information impacts me in ways I didn't anticipate. In order to best serve my students, I need to adequately process these emotions until I am grounded enough to be supportive to others. Whether it's private journaling, talking to a trusted friend or colleague, or accessing your own therapist or counselor, start by working through your emotions, whatever they may be.

2. Recognize emotional truth.

Remember that the factual truth is unimportant compared to the student's emotional truth. As a teacher, your role is not to investigate the details of a student's trauma, or even know all or any of them. Your role is not to challenge the student's or family's description of what happened or ask whether it really occurred. Humans respond in a huge variety of ways to stressors, and so your time is better spent understanding how your studentemotionally responds to the traumatic experience, and how that emotional response may impact the student in your school setting.

3. Be clear about your role.

A true community of support for a student requires a few different roles, depending on the situation: teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, and care providers/family, to name a few. Don't try to take on every role on that list -- it's not healthy for you or for the student! If you're not sure who else is involved in a student's constellation of care, make it your first priority to find out, and if you have the permission of the student and family, communicate with those people.


4. Seek to better understand "problem behaviors."

Once you develop an understanding of how the student is impacted by trauma, use this context to reframe what might be thought of as "problem behaviors." Example: Instead of seeing a student's rude outburst as a sign of willful disrespect, I might instead understand it as a marker of a missing emotional self-regulation skill. A student who can't sit still and paces around the classroom? With an understanding of trauma impacts, I might now recognize how that student has a heightened sense of vigilance around safety in her environment. Once I reframe these behaviors for myself, I can now respond to the core issue rather than the behavior itself.


5. Coordinate with others.

Students can develop a sense of safety when multiple adults in their lives respond in consistent ways. Using common language, offering the same set of strategies, or using similar cues can help a student internalize positive ways of addressing challenges. Even without coordinating specific strategies, a common mindset toward the child goes a long way -- see Unconditional Positive Regard or Kids Do Well If They Can as examples.

6. Learn from the experts.

While every student responds differently to trauma, there are tons of resources out there for better understanding impacts of trauma, ways to be supportive in and out of the classroom, and how to build positive social and emotional skills. One of the best experts, though? The student! Ask your student what he needs to feel supported, what strategies work or don't work when he's having a hard time, and how you can help him be successful in your class. Some students might surprise you with their insight, and some might never have been asked and will benefit from the opportunity to develop their answers.

7. Continue checking in with yourself.

Being in a supportive role to someone who is managing the impacts of trauma can be challenging, and may result in vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue. Check out NCTSN's Self Care for Educators resource(PDF) for more information and tips on these challenges. But the bottom line is taking care of yourself and getting your own support so that you may support others.


Our students benefit when we thoughtfully align our strategies and supports with our best understanding. Though it is difficult to find out that our students may be in pain, this knowledge is also the first step in helping them move forward. 

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Accountability Pressure and Non-Achievement Student Behaviors // Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research (CALDER)

Accountability Pressure and Non-Achievement Student Behaviors // Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research (CALDER) | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

Authors: John B. Holbein and Helen Ladd

"In this paper we examine how failing to make adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the accountability pressure that ensues, affects various non-achievement student behaviors. Using administrative data from North Carolina and leveraging a discontinuity in the determination of school failure, we examine the causal impact of accountability pressure both on student behaviors that are incentivized by NCLB and on those that are not. We find evidence that, as NCLB intends, pressure encourages students to show up at school and to do so on time.

Accountability pressure also has the unintended effect, however, of increasing the number of student misbehaviors such as suspensions, fights, and offenses reportable to law enforcement. Further, this negative response is most pronounced among minorities and low performing students, who are the most likely to be left behind."...


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(T2) Trauma Transformed: Connecting Communities with Compassionate Systems

(T2) Trauma Transformed: Connecting Communities with Compassionate Systems | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"Who We Are

Trauma Transformed is the only regional center and clearinghouse in the Bay Area that promotes a trauma-informed system by providing trainings and policy guidance to systems of care professionals and organizations. A trauma-informed system is one that builds awareness and knowledge of trauma to shape policies and practices aimed at reducing the re-traumatization of youth and families and the professionals who serve them.


Acknowledging that trauma is pervasive in our communities and those of our children, youth and families most impacted by our public systems of care, seven Bay Area counties came together in 2014 to address a national public health crisis through a regional effort. The seven counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, envisioned breaking down silos and coordinating and communicating more effectively across sectors and county lines through a Bay Area Trauma Informed Systems of Care Initiative (BATISC).

The initiative was focused on centralizing and building a regional trauma-informed Bay Area system of care and improving the ways we understand, respond to, and heal trauma. The response to the initiative resulted in awarding East Bay Agency for Children the task of supporting the partnership of counties and communities in July 2015. This collaboration of partner agencies: Youth in Mind, Center for Youth Wellness, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and East Bay Agency for Children along with and the seven counties resulted in the creation of Trauma Transformed (T2), a Bay Area Regional Trauma Center."...

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Community Tools to Change Mass Incarceration of Youth of Color // Burns Institute

Community Tools to Change Mass Incarceration of Youth of Color // Burns Institute | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Tyler Whittenberg 

"Last month the W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice, Fairness and Equity (BI) conducted a webinar for the Healing Violence Alliance, highlighting the causes and consequences of racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system and how these disparities relate to community-based efforts to address violence. If you missed it, you can download the webinar.

The BI offers a historical perspective on racism in the youth and adult justice systems, detailing how current policies exacerbate disparities created by the racist practices of our not-so-distant past.  Systemic barriers, such as the zero tolerance policies, the criminalization of age-appropriate behavior, and the disparate use of law enforcement resources make it more likely that people of color are disproportionately affected by the collateral consequences of incarceration.


These consequences include disruptions in education, reduced income, loss of employment opportunities, separated families, housing evictions and other barriers that affect individuals, harm families and negatively impact community well-being. The individual, social and cultural trauma caused by mass incarceration and its collateral consequences are significant issues that system and community leaders must consider to effectively address the complex origins of community violence.


BI staff also outline their community-driven, data-informed approach to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. The BI believes that successfully reducing disparities requires collaboration between system and community stakeholders. This collaboration must include substantial community involvement throughout the decision-making processes, full utilization of available community resources, and the development of new community-based interventions. Additionally, by emphasizing the ongoing use of quantitative and qualitative data during the decision-making process, advocates can make targeted improvements to policies that perpetuate existing disparities while avoiding many of the pitfalls associated with racial equity reform.


In addition to the BI webinar cited above, here are links to informational resources on working collaboratively with communities of color to reduce racial and ethnic disparities:

Stemming the Rising Tide: Racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration and strategies for change — This report highlights troubling trends in the incarceration of youth of color and offers several strategies for addressing the causes of racial inequities that promote restorative justice and overall well-being for youth of color.


What Happens When the Bargain of Civil Society is Breached? — In many communities across this nation, children are expected to exhibit all of the characteristics of childhood—good and bad—as part of their normal adolescent development. However, in far too many communities of color, we have eliminated the space for children to exhibit age appropriate behavior by criminalizing their conduct through fear-based policies and practices. In this piece, BI founder, James Bell, discusses why we must apply a child well-being framework to young men of color.


A Shared Sentence: The devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families and communities — “More than 5 million U.S. children have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their lives. The incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence. But while states spend heavily on corrections, few resources exist to support those left behind. A Shared Sentence offers commonsense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress that children of incarcerated parents experience.”


Racial Equity Tools — “Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.”


Racial Equity Toolkit — “Racial equity tools are designed to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in decisions, including policies, practices, programs, and budgets. It is both a product and a process. Use of a racial equity tool can help to develop strategies and actions that reduce racial inequities and improve success for all groups.”


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Join #SafetyIs TweetChat Aug. 2nd, 11am PST, 1pm CST, 2pm EST // #NOSL16 (Night Out for Safety & Liberation) @EllaBakerCenter @fflicla // Families & Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children

Join #SafetyIs TweetChat Aug. 2nd, 11am PST, 1pm CST, 2pm EST // #NOSL16 (Night Out for Safety & Liberation) @EllaBakerCenter @fflicla // Families & Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

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Inclusion and Respect: GLSEN Resources for Educators

Inclusion and Respect: GLSEN Resources for Educators | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"There is reason why so many educators turn to GLSEN for resources when they want to teach about respect. For more than 25 years, we’ve been developing user-friendly, developmentally appropriate and research-based tools for educators just like you.


How can I be a supportive ally to LGBT youth?

How do I discuss bullying, gender roles or family diversity with elementary students? 

How can I include positive representations of LGBT people in the curriculum? 

How do I inspire my students to be kind and speak up when they see bullying?

GLSEN has resources that address these topics and much more.Take a moment to watch the video and explore GLSEN's educator guides and lessons to support your curriculum and practices.Find a resource you like? Download and use it, then share with colleagues."  



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Pokemon Go Safety Concerns // Nat'l White Collar Crime Center, Bureau of Justice Assistance

The above document was shared on the Next Door neighborhood online community by Crime Prevention Specialist Sonia Azevedo from the San José Police Department. 


"Attached you will find information put out by the National White Collar Crime Center. Though the game may be fun and interesting, we suggest you read the article as it brings up some safety concerns we'd like you to consider.  Enjoy the game, but most importantly, be safe.

To download, click on title or linked pdf above. 


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Disciplinary Data Use and Research: Lessons from Syracuse [Webinar] Tuesday June 14th, 10am-11:30am PST // Urban School Improvement Alliance

Disciplinary Data Use and Research: Lessons from Syracuse [Webinar] Tuesday June 14th, 10am-11:30am PST // Urban School Improvement Alliance | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., ET


"Join the Urban School Improvement Alliance in the national and regional conversation on using data to inform school improvement, with a special focus on disciplinary data and Syracuse City Schools. Dan Losen, Director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, will present research on school discipline policies, ways that schools are currently collecting and analyzing disciplinary data, and the challenges and opportunities for districts in setting and practicing fair discipline policies. Participants will also learn in detail about how Syracuse rewrote its code of conduct using data and research, which is documented in a REL Northeast & Islands case study published in late 2015.


Who Should Attend?
District leaders and school-based practitioners, education researchers and technical assistance providers, state-level policymakers, and alliance members. 


Featured Presenter

  • Daniel Losen, JD, MEd, Director, Center for Civil Rights Remedies, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Andrew Seager, USIA Founding Facilitator, REL Northeast & Islands
  • Lu Han, Data Analyst, Syracuse City, N.Y., School District




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This Is My Place: Middle Schoolers on Social and Emotional Learning // What Kids Can Do WKCD

What most helps young people thrive in a challenging academic environment? Answers from students bear out what research has found: social and emotional factors constitute a crucial underpinning for learning.

In recent WKCD interviews at School of the Future in New York City, middle schoolers gave their own examples of how everyday interactions between students, peers, and adults affected how they learned in the classroom.

Their descriptions reflected some key unspoken questions that adolescents bring with them into a school environment:

  • Will I able to do the work here? Will I be smart enough?
  • Will I be safe here? Will I be teased or made to feel bad somehow?
  • Will I get to help decide what happens to me here?


NOTE: For years WKCD has gathered, most of all, the voices and vision of high-school-age youth—although we did publish the popular Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolerby Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers (The New Press, 2008). In the months ahead, we aim to include more voices and perspectives from the middle grades.


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Test, Punish, and Push Out: How "Zero-Tolerance" and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth Into the School To Prison Pipeline

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For additional updates on high-stakes testing, see: 

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WeAreTeachers: 10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to Know

WeAreTeachers: 10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to Know | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"This is the first blog in the Childhood Trauma Blog Series, sponsored by Starr TLC.

With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because it shows up looking like other problems: frustration, acting out, difficulty concentrating, following directions or working in a group. Often students are misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders or attention disorders, rather than understanding the trauma that’s driving those symptoms and reactions.


For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. But once trauma is identified as the root of the behavior, we can adapt our approach to help kids cope when they’re at school. Detroit-based clinical director of the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, a program of the Starr Global Learning Network, Caelan Kuban Soma offers these tips for understanding kids who have been through trauma, plus strategies for helping them.


1. Kids who have experienced trauma aren’t trying to push your buttons.
If a child is having trouble with transitions or turning in a folder at the beginning of the day, remember that children may be distracted because of a situation at home that is causing them to worry. Instead of reprimanding children for being late or forgetting homework, be affirming and accommodating by establishing a visual cue or verbal reminder to help that child. “Switch your mind-set and remember the kid who has experienced trauma is not trying to push your buttons,” says Soma.

2. Kids who have been through trauma worry about what’s going to happen next.
A daily routine in the classroom can be calming, so try to provide structure and predictability whenever possible. Since words may not sink in for children who go through trauma, they need other sensory cues, says Soma. Besides explaining how the day will unfold, have signs or a storyboard that shows which activity—math, reading, lunch, recess, etc.—the class will do when.


3. Even if the situation doesn’t seem that bad to you, it’s how the child feels that matters.
Try not to judge the trauma. As caring teachers, we may unintentionally project that a situation isn’t really that bad, but how the child feels about the stress is what matters most. “We have to remember it’s the perception of the child … the situation is something they have no control over, feeling that their life or safety is at risk,” says Soma. It may not even be just one event, but the culmination of chronic stress—for example, a child who lives in poverty may worry about the family being able to pay rent on time, keep their jobs or have enough food. Those ongoing stressors can cause trauma. “Anything that keeps our nervous system activated for longer than four to six weeks is defined as post-traumatic stress,” says Soma.


4. Trauma isn’t always associated with violence.
Trauma is often associated with violence, but kids also can suffer trauma from a variety of situations—like divorce, a move, or being overscheduled or bullied. “All kids, especially in this day and age, experience extreme stress from time to time,” says Soma. “It is more common than we think.”

5. You don’t need to know exactly what caused the trauma to be able to help.
Instead of focusing on the specifics of a traumatic situation, concentrate on the support you can give children who are suffering. “Stick with what you are seeing now—the hurt, the anger, the worry,” Soma says, rather than getting every detail of the child’s story. Privacy is a big issue in working with students suffering from trauma, and schools often have a confidentiality protocol that teachers follow. You don’t have to dig deep into the trauma to be able to effectively respond with empathy and flexibility.


6. Kids who experience trauma need to feel they’re good at something and can influence the world.
Find opportunities that allow kids to set and achieve goals, and they’ll feel a sense of mastery and control, suggests Soma. Assign them jobs in the classroom that they can do well or let them be a peer helper to someone else. “It is very empowering,” says Soma. “Set them up to succeed and keep that bar in the zone where you know they are able to accomplish it and move forward.” Rather than saying a student is good at math, find experiences to let him or her feel it. Because trauma is such a sensory experience, kids need more than encouragement—they need to feel their worth through concrete tasks.


7. There’s a direct connection between stress and learning.
When kids are stressed, it’s tough for them to learn. Create a safe, accepting environment in your classroom by letting children know you understand their situation and support them. “Kids who have experienced trauma have difficulty learning unless they feel safe and supported,” says Soma. “The more the teacher can do to make the child less anxious and have the child focus on the task at hand, the better the performance you are going to see out of that child. There is a direct connection between lowering stress and academic outcomes.”

8. Self-regulation can be a major challenge for students suffering from trauma.
Some kids with trauma are growing up with emotionally unavailable parents and haven’t learned to self-soothe, so they may develop distracting behaviors and have trouble staying focused for long periods. To help them cope, schedule regular brain breaks. Tell the class at the beginning of the day when there will be breaks—for free time, to play a game or to stretch. “If you build it in before the behavior gets out of whack, you set the child up for success,” says Soma. A child may be able to make it through a 20-minute block of work if it’s understood there will be a break to recharge before the next task.

9. It’s OK to ask kids point-blank what you can do to help them make it through the day.
For all students with trauma, you can ask them directly what you can do to help. They may ask to listen to music with headphones or put their head on their desk for a few minutes. Soma says, “We have to step back and ask them, ‘How can I help? Is there something I can do to make you feel even a little bit better?’”


10. You can support kids with trauma even when they’re outside your classroom.
Loop in the larger school. Share trauma-informed strategies with all staff, from bus drivers to parent volunteers to crossing guards. Remind everyone: “The child is not his or her behavior,” says Soma. “Typically there is something underneath that driving that to happen, so be sensitive. Ask yourself, ‘I wonder what’s going on with that kid?’ rather than saying, ‘What’s wrong with the kid?’ That’s a huge shift in the way we view kids.”... 

Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, April 23, 5:16 PM

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Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate // U.S. Department of Education

Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate // U.S. Department of Education | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"The U.S. Department of Education today released new school climate surveys and a quick guide on making school climate improvements to help foster and sustain safe and supportive environments that are conducive to learning for all students.

The ED School Climate Surveys (surveys) and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements will enable states, local school districts, and individual schools to collect and act on reliable, nationally-validated school climate data in real-time. These new free and adaptable resources will enable educators, administrators, and school system leaders to understand and create environments where every child can be successful.

“All students deserve schools that work to ensure safe and supportive school climates in which they can reach their full potential,” said James Cole Jr., General Counsel, Delegated the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education. “These new surveys and quick guide will support any school that seeks to make significant improvements in all students’ safety and sense of respect and connectedness at school. We owe it to our children to ensure that school is not only safe and engaging, but that we are also working to continuously improve school climate by using resources like these.”

Research shows that students learn best when they are in environments in which they feel safe, supported, challenged, and accepted. Positive school climates foster trust, respect, communication and cooperation among students, school staff, parents and the community at-large. By improving school climate, schools lay the foundation for improving daily school attendance and high achievement by all students.

These new resources build on two Administration initiatives: President Obama’s Now is the Time Plan, and his My Brother’s Keeper Taskforce, which recommended that the Department work on the issue of school climates. As part of Now is the Time, the Department announced efforts to place a high priority on helping schools create safer and more nurturing school climates. One result was that the Department funded its National Center for Education Statistics to develop the surveys to create a school climate measurement platform in coordination with the Office of Safe and Healthy Students.

The new school climate surveys, which are on a web-based platform, are designed for middle and high school students, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, and parents and guardians. Moreover, the platform can process real-time data and provide user-friendly reports. Education agencies and schools administering the survey can store school climate survey data on their state, local, or school-based data systems. The federal government is planning to conduct a sample-based study using the surveys for benchmarking but willnot collect or store data generated by the schools using the surveys for any other purposes.

In addition to the Quick Guide, a series of tools will be released later this spring and summer as part of the School Climate Improvement Resource Package, a web-based suite of action-oriented, research and evidence-based resources to help create and support positive school climates." 

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Mapping the School to Prison Pipeline

"Tia Martinez, Forward Change Consulting, and Sarah Omojola, Public Counsel and, present "Mapping the School-to-Prison Pipeline." This webinar will answer your questions about how out-of-school punishments can result in involvement with the criminal justice system, have health implications, and contribute to intergenerational poverty. This webinar uses data to provide a unique and detailed picture of how students and communities, especially those of color, are affected by punitive education policies."

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Protecting Students of All Religious Backgrounds from Unlawful Discrimination // Blog

Protecting Students of All Religious Backgrounds from Unlawful Discrimination // Blog | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"All students—regardless of race, national origin, religion, disability, or sex—deserve access to a high-quality education, from preschool through college. Throughout the last seven-and-a-half years, the Obama administration and the Department of Education have worked to safeguard the rights and protections of our students by enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws and implementing regulations that prohibit discrimination and providing additional support to educators to prevent such discrimination.

Building on these critical efforts, today, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched a webpage that consolidates resources from across the Federal government about religious discrimination. The new page links to OCR’s relevant policy guidance and case resolutions involving religious discrimination claims, as well as resources in various languages and from other Federal agencies.

We also revised our online complaint form to clarify when OCR can investigate complaints from individuals who believe they have experienced racial, ethnic, or national origin discrimination involving their religion. Both efforts aim to ensure that students of all religious backgrounds receive the full protection of federal civil rights laws.

OCR’s jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including membership in a religion that may be perceived to exhibit ethnic characteristics (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh students). Our updated online form reaffirms that students and parents of all faiths can file complaints with OCR that include aspects of religious discrimination in education, even though Title VI does not expressly prohibit religious discrimination.

Such complaints are not new to OCR. Last year, we received more than 450 complaints of racial or national origin harassment, including some involving religion. We have used enforcement as a key tool to protect students of many religious backgrounds from unlawful discrimination. For example, we have resolved cases involving Jewish students subjected to anti-Semitic epithets or Muslim students targeted for wearing a hijab and called terrorists. In instances where schools failed to address a hostile environment, we have secured commitments from those schools to improve their harassment policies and procedures, train staff and students, and conduct school climate surveys.

In addition to resolving cases, OCR has conducted outreach and worked to share resources with the field in order to support schools in their efforts to prevent religious discrimination. Since March, OCR has participated in a series of roundtables with other federal agencies on issues of religious discrimination, including bullying of students from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our participation in the Justice Department’s Combating Religious Discrimination Today roundtables also has given us the opportunity to hear from communities and advocates around the country on the issue of religious discrimination in our nation’s schools. In June, OCR issued a fact sheet about combating discrimination against Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian students, and I recently blogged about OCR’s work to prevent discrimination involving religion at schools and universities.

We recognize, as the Department recently stated in the Federal Register, that there are “an increasing number of incidents of anti-Semitic bullying and harassment in public schools . . . [and] reports documenting that students who are or are perceived as Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Southeast Asian are frequent targets of bullying and harassment.” In response, the Department revised the regulations for the Equity Assistance Centers (EACs). The EACs, starting in October, will be authorized to provide technical assistance, on request, to public school districts, students and parents, and community organizations to prevent and combat religious discrimination.

Recognizing that data are critical in understanding the problem and measuring progress, later this year every public school district in the country will be required, for the first time, to report to OCR through the Civil Rights Data Collection on the number of incidents of religious-based bullying or harassment in their schools in the 2015-2016 school year. We hope that this information will be useful to schools, policymakers, researchers, and others to facilitate a broader understanding of the scope of this issue.

We look forward to continuing this important work by using all the tools at our disposal to address unlawful discrimination so that all students can learn in safe, inclusive, and welcoming school environments.

Catherine E. Lhamon is Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. 

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Why Are So Many Preschoolers Getting Suspended? // The Atlantic

Why Are So Many Preschoolers Getting Suspended? // The Atlantic | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Melinda Anderson

"Tunette Powell travels across the country counseling families and mentoring youth. An award-winning motivational speaker and author, her professional work in the education field ranges from training nonprofit leaders to consulting for colleges and universities. But none of Powell’s career-related skills could prepare her for the frustration and helplessness of seeing her two sons suspended from preschool, which she pegged to overly harsh and racially biased discipline. In a July 2014 Washington Post opinion piece that gained national attention, Powell relates how her boys—ages 3 and 4—were suspended from their Omaha preschool program eight times total in one year. Once published, the essay resonated with readers nationwide. “So many parents reached out [to me] … a lot of black mothers” who shared her experience with excessive suspensions, said Powell. “We live in a time when we just say, ‘Suspend them, get rid of them.’”

A glance at news headlines confirms that Powell and her sons are not an anomaly. From a 3-year-old suspended for too many toileting mishaps to a 4-year-old booted out of school for kicking off his shoes and crying, toddlers are racking up punishments that leave many parents and child experts bewildered. Overall the rise in school suspensions and disproportionate impact on youth of color has triggered a flurry of interest from activists and high-ranking government officials, and for good reason: A February 2015 report from UCLA's Civil Rights Project examined out-of-school suspension data for every school district in the country and found that nearly 3.5 million children—about six out of every 100 public school students—were suspended at least once during the 2011-12 school year, with close to half of those (1.55 million) suspended multiple times.

But for some more astounding than these discipline statistics were the thousands of the nation’s youngest learners—nearly 8,000 preschoolers—suspended from school in the same year, often for relatively minor disruptions and misbehaviors. For researchers and educators immersed in this work, why preschoolers are put out of school and the entrenched racial disparity seems most closely tied to reasons such as teacher bias and children living in poverty whose hitting, biting, and pinching is frequently labeled misconduct rather than developmental delays."...

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"The Opposite of Addiction is Not Sobriety, The Opposite of Addiction is Connection" (Johann Hari) // By Amber Ferguson

"The Opposite of Addiction is Not Sobriety, The Opposite of Addiction is Connection" (Johann Hari) // By Amber Ferguson | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Amber Ferguson
"The opposite of drug addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection, according to best-selling author Johann Hari.

The animated video above, adapted from Hari's Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, claims that the drug war has failed because it has focused on eliminating drugs and punishing users -- two tools that have proven woefully ineffective at stemming either supply or demand. Instead, Hari says, we can address the desire for drugs by understanding that our surroundings play a huge part in driving us to abuse mind-altering substances.

According to psychologist Bruce Alexander, changing a person's environment and social setting can dramatically affect his or her chance of addiction. In the late 1970s, he developed the “Rat Park” experiment, which debunked previous beliefs that certain drugs will make any user addicted. While previous experiments had shown rats that were given a choice between regular water and water laced with heroin would choose the latter -- and keep going back until they died -- Alexander's experiment showed that wasn't always the case.

Rats in Alexander's experiment were given food, play equipment, other rats to interact with and both regular and drug-laced water. The rats lived without becoming addicted to the drugs, and none of them overdosed.

Hari argues that these findings can be extended to humans. The best way to address addiction, he says, is not with jail time or isolating addicted people from others in society. Instead, we should give them support, a healthy environment to thrive in and activities that involve substantial social interaction -- all of which will help them on the road to recovery and eliminate the desire to return to dangerous drug use.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that 44 people in the United States die from prescription opioid overdose each day. The number of heroin-related fatalities increased by 39 percent between 2012 and 2013, when 8,260 people died of an overdose."...

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