Safe Schools & Communities Resources
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Safe Schools & Communities Resources
This collection includes resources for strengthening school climate, and improving health, safety, connectedness, and student engagement.  Readers are encouraged to explore related links for further information.  For upcoming events and community resources specific to Santa Clara County, check out:
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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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Digital Citizenship Week: Six Resources for Educators // Edutopia

Digital Citizenship Week: Six Resources for Educators // Edutopia | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Matt Davis [Photo credit: Massachusetts Secretary of Education via flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

"Considering how ubiquitous smartphones and tablets have become, especially in high school and middle school, questions about managing use and educating students about digital etiquette are on a lot of educators' minds.

This October, Common Sense Media is sponsoring Digital Citizenship Week from October 16 to October 22. And we wanted to pull together some of the best resources to help educators talk about digital responsibility and safety online. Here, you'll find resources that cover today's digital landscape, ideas for student activities, and strategies for engaging parents."...


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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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School Climate, Substance Use, and Well-Being Among California Students 2013-2015 // WestEd

"Being bullied remains a persistent problem for students in middle school and high school, with a combined average of 36 percent of middle and high school students surveyed reporting having been bullied at least once in the last 12 months, according to a new report released by the California Department of Education. The report is based on 2013-15 data from the California Healthy Kids Survey conducted by the research group WestEd. Forty percent percent of 7th graders, 38 percent of 9th graders and 31 percent of 11th graders reported having been bullied.

Those rates were unchanged or slightly higher than bullying rates reported in the previous 2011-13 data collection, depending on grade level. The survey was administered to a randomly selected, representative state sample of 36,573 students in grades 7, 9 and 11. Parental consent was required.

The report found "disturbingly high levels" of symptoms indicating a risk of depression. About 1 in 3 students in 2013-15 reported feeling "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more" in the past 12 months that they stopped doing some usual activities. The rate of chronic sadness was 26 percent in 7th grade, 32 percent in 9th grade and 34 percent in 11th grade and  were unchanged from the 2011-13 survey.

About 1 in 5 students in 9th grade and 11th grade reported seriously considering suicide.

On the positive side, 11th grade students reported decreased rates of binge drinking, alcohol use, marijuana use and drinking and driving.

First survey on sexual orientation

The survey also found significant numbers of students who did not identify themselves as heterosexual.

When asked "Which of the following best describes you?" 76 percent of 7th graders, 86 percent of 9th graders and 88 percent of 11th graders chose "heterosexual/straight." The 2013-15 survey was the first time researchers asked the question.

"Gay/lesbian/bisexual" was chosen by 3.5 percent of 7th graders, 6.4 percent of 9th graders and 7.2 percent of 11th graders. "Transgender" was chosen by between 1.1 and 1.6 percent of students across the grade levels. "Not sure" was selected by 11 percent of 7th graders and dropped to 4.2 percent for 11th graders. "Declined to respond" was chosen by 14.5 percent of 7th graders, 6.1 percent of 9th graders and 4.7 percent of 11th graders."...
Summary provided by EdSource's EdHealth updates. To download full report, click on title above. 
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On Punishment for Bullying — and Punishment AS Bullying // Alfie Kohn

On Punishment for Bullying — and Punishment AS Bullying // Alfie Kohn | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

Bullying at school has attracted an enormous amount of attention, spurring academic studies and popular books, regulations and training sessions for educators. By now its status as a serious problem is widely acknowledged, as it should be. We can never go back to the days when bullying was regarded as a boys-will-be-boys rite of passage, something that victims were left to deal with (and suffer from) alone.

But as with other ills, both within and beyond our schools, some responses are much less constructive than others. The least thoughtful (or useful) strategy is to announce a “zero tolerance” stance in regard to bullying. Either this phrase amounts to empty rhetoric — rather like responding to repeated instances of gun violence in our country by sending each cluster of victims our “thoughts and prayers” — or else it refers to a policy of harsh punishment for bullies.

The latter approach is worth our attention precisely because it comes so easily to us, complementing a punitive sensibility already well-established in our schools. Students who break the rules or otherwise displease us are subjected to suspension, expulsion, detention, enforced isolation (“time-out”), loss of opportunity to participate in enjoyable activities, and so on.


Making children suffer for what they’ve done is often defended on practical grounds, but I’ve been unable to find any evidence to support the claim that punishment makes schools safer or leads the children who have been punished to become more ethical or responsible. Indeed, punitive responses — even if they’re euphemistically called “consequences” — are often not merely ineffective but actively counterproductive. To cite only one in a long line of empirical investigations, an eight-year longitudinal study published in 2005 found that punitive discipline was subsequently associated with more antisocial behavior, less prosocial behavior, and increased levels of anxiety."...

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20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students // KQED Mindshift

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students // KQED Mindshift | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Katrina Schwartz

"Students’ behavior is a form of communication and when it’s negative it almost always stems from an underlying cause. There are many reasons kids might be acting out, which makes it difficult for a teacher in a crowded classroom to figure out the root cause. But even if there was time and space to do so, most teachers receive very little training in behavior during their credentialing programs. On average, teacher training programs mandate zero to one classes on behavior and zero to one courses on mental health. Teacher training programs mostly assume that kids in public schools will be “typical,” but that assumption can handicap teachers when they get into real classrooms.

A National Institute of Health study found that 25.1 percent of kids 13-18 in the US have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. No one knows how many more haven’t been diagnosed. Additionally between eight and 15 percent of the school-aged population has learning disabilities (there is a range because there’s no standard definition of what constitutes a learning disability). Nine percent of 13-18 year-olds have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (although the number one misdiagnoses of anxiety is ADHD), and 11.2 percent suffer from depression.

‘We are 50% of every interaction with a child, so we have a lot of control over that interaction.’

“So basically we have this gap in teacher education,” said Jessica Minahan, a certified behavior analyst, special educator, and co-author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students. She spoke to educators gathered at a Learning and the Brain conference about strategies that work with oppositional students.

Minahan is usually called into schools to help with the most challenging behavior. She finds that often teachers are trying typical behavioral strategies for a group of kids for whom those strategies don’t work. However, she says after teachers learn more about why kids are behaving badly there are some simple strategies to approach defiant behavior like avoiding work, fighting, and causing problems during transitions with more empathy."...


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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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Experts Say Schools Must Do More to Address Early Signs of Sexual Harassment // EdSource

Experts Say Schools Must Do More to Address Early Signs of Sexual Harassment // EdSource | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Jane Meredith Adams

"A new California law requiring 7th- through 12th-grade students to be educated about sexual harassment and assault will enter its first full year of implementation this fall, and experts and advocates say schools have the opportunity to address troubling attitudes about gender and power that they say can contribute to sexual harassment and even assaults on college campuses.


Many school cultures trivialize harassment, tolerate language that degrades girls and women, and leave unchallenged the misconception that masculinity means being superior and aggressive and femininity means being inferior and submissive, said Erin Prangley, associate director of government relations for the American Association of University Women, a Washington, D.C.-based research and policy organization. These unchecked attitudes emerge at an early age and help create a mindset that, at the college level, has the potential to contribute to sexual assaults, such as the case of Brock Turner at Stanford University, she said.


“The problems that have been very high-profile in the campus sexual assault arena aren’t problems in a vacuum,” Prangley said, without referring to the specific circumstances of the Turner assault.


“A lot of these assaults are symptoms of how children were socialized to be in relationships with other children and, ultimately, with intimate partners,” said Emily Austin, director of advocacy services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization.


In a 2011 study, the American Association of University Women found that nearly half – 48 percent – of about 2,000 7th- through 12th-graders in a nationally representative survey said they experienced some form of harassment based on their gender during the school year. The harassment included unwelcome sexual comments and gestures, being shown sexual pictures they did not want to see, being touched in an unwelcome sexual way and being forced to do something sexual. Girls were more likely to experience sexual harassment than boys.


While there is no single profile of a student who sexually assaults others, sexual harassment by definition is about gender and power, and students who engage in that behavior are likely to have issues with both, said Dorothy Espelage, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher on bullying and sexual violence. Those issues, she said, may include a personal or cultural belief that men should hold a dominant position over women in society, a conviction that gender roles must be strictly defined and a concern about being perceived as not masculine enough.


“In our work, the idea that girls should succumb to boys and that boys should call the shots – and be stoic and traditionally masculine – is associated with higher rates of sexual harassment,” Espelage said.

Power and gender identity come to the fore in middle school when girls and boys take stock of their relative status as social and sexual beings. In a study of nearly 1,000 5th, 6th and 7th grade students, Espelage and her colleagues found that the combination of high rates of bullying and high rates of homophobic name-calling – using words such as “homo, gay, lesbo or fag”– was a predictive indicator of which middle school boys were most likely to sexually harass other students over a two-year period, according to results published in 2015 in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.


The findings do not imply that bullying leads to rape, according to a research brief on Espelage’s work published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, the findings suggest the need for schools to explicitly address and forbid homophobic teasing and sexual harassment, the authors said.


“Unlike flirting or good-natured joking, which are mutual interactions between two people, sexual harassment is unwelcomed and unwanted behavior which may cause the target to feel threatened, afraid, humiliated, angry, or trapped,” according to the National Women’s Law Center’s primer on sexual harassment for students. In the school environment, sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual behavior – such as sending sexual notes, grabbing body parts, spreading sexual rumors or making sexual gestures, jokes, or verbal comments  – that interferes with a student’s opportunity to obtain an education, according to the law center. Sexual harassment may occur electronically or in person.


It is also against the law in federally funded schools under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, as reiterated in a 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. “Sadly, I think most people don’t know that Title IX applies to sexual harassment and sexual assault, and not just to sports,” said Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, senior staff attorney at Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based nonprofit legal organization."... 


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How Should Teachers Respond to the Colin Kaepernick Incident? // Dr. Derrick L. Campbell

By Dr. Derrick L. Campbell via LinkedIn
"In a recent article, a student who was more than likely influenced by the Colin Kaepernick incident, has accused a teacher of physically removing him from his seat for not participating in the pledge of allegiance. There are laws that protect student rights in the area of participating in the pledge of allegiance. Teachers who believe that a student who desires to exhibit behavior consistent with the Colin Kaepernick incident must refrain from physical or verbal harassment.

According to the article, IL Teacher Punishes Student For Refusal to Stand for Pledge, a teacher at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois is under investigation for accusations that she not only attempted to force 15-year-old sophomore Shemar Cooper to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance, but physically forced him out of his seat against his will before punishing him in front of his peers.

The youth's mother attempted to resolve the issue with the school until she found that the school administrators attempted to shame the student by saying he disrespects the military for exercising his right to abstain from acts of patriotism. In addition to the harassment, Cooper was sent to the office to face punishment for exercising his constitutional right. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact the superintendent, the youth's mother has filed a complaint with the local police who may file charges against the teachers.

What are the possible consequences for the way that the teacher responded to the student who may have been influenced by the Colin Kaepernick incident?

The possible consequences for the teacher could result in either criminal or civil liability. If the teacher physically removed the student from his seat then she could be convicted of physical assault. In particular this action by the teacher could result in a charge of battery.

Although the statutes for defining battery vary by jurisdiction, a typical definition for battery is the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent. Under this general definition, a battery offense requires all of the following:

  • intentional touching
  • the touching must be harmful or offensive
  • no consent from the victim"...


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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.

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Virtual Violence // [Policy Statement] Council on Communications and Media, American Academy of Pediatrics 



"In the United States, exposure to media violence is becoming an inescapable component of children’s lives. With the rise in new technologies, such as tablets and new gaming platforms, children and adolescents increasingly are exposed to what is known as “virtual violence.” This form of violence is not experienced physically; rather, it is experienced in realistic ways via new technology and ever more intense and realistic games. The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned about children’s exposure to virtual violence and the effect it has on their overall health and well-being. This policy statement aims to summarize the current state of scientific knowledge regarding the effects of virtual violence on children’s attitudes and behaviors and to make specific recommendations for pediatricians, parents, industry, and policy makers."

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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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The Restorative Justice Vote // v Ollin Law #RJVote #HealingLaw

The Restorative Justice Vote // v Ollin Law #RJVote #HealingLaw | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

The Restorative Justice Vote

The Future of Restorative Justice Policies and the Effort to Create Healthier Communities Through Criminal Justice Reform


"In response to the tumultuous political climate in the United States and uncertain future of hard-fought reforms to criminal justice law, Ollin Law, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit law firm based in Los Angeles, is pleased to announce “The Restorative Justice Vote,” a one-day conference in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 that will convene attorneys, social justice activists, law enforcement professionals, and policymakers in advance of the November 8th presidential election.


 The Restorative Justice Vote will add meaningful content on underserved communities directly impacted by restorative justice policies and who might otherwise go unnoticed in the final weeks before the presidential election in November, 2016. The Honorable Tony Cárdenas, Member of Congress (CA-29) and longtime champion of juvenile justice reform, will deliver the keynote address.


Conference presentations will include:


  • Healing Through Law: The emerging area of law practice that incorporates healing methods for clients who have experienced trauma and attorneys who want to prevent burnout.
  • Realignment Post-Prop. 47: Officials from law enforcement and the criminal justice system will discuss monumental policy shifts in prison sentencing and the implementation of Prop. 47 since its passing by California voters in November, 2014.
  • Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice: An in-depth analysis and discussion on how the criminal justice system affects boys and men of color and shapes how they view themselves and society.
  • Restorative Justice on the Frontlines: Panel discussion on the implementation of restorative justice policies by legal aid and gang intervention organizations.
  • Decision 2016: A discussion on the prospects of the various restorative justice bills and ballot propositions that will be considered by lawmakers or voters in 2016."... 


For more information, please see event summary and registration page at: 

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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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Keeping Our Kids In School // Restorative Schools Vision Project 

The above document may be downloaded at 


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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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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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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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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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For main Burns Institute website, visit: 

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A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students // PBS

A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students // PBS | 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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Educational Exclusion: Drop Out, Push Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline among LBGTQ Youth


"Educational Exclusion: Drop Out, Push Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline among LGBTQ Youth provides an in-depth look at the conditions that effectively push LGBTQ youth out of school and potentially into the criminal justice system. The report provides specific, real world guidance to address the hostile school climates and damaging policies and practices that contribute to pushing LGBTQ youth out of their schools.

Specifically, this report examines:

  • Rates of school discipline among LGBTQ youth and the factors that contribute to their school disciplinary experiences;
  • School dropout rates among LGBTQ youth and the factors that may play a role in pushing youth out of school;
  • How school disciplinary actions increase LGBTQ youth involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems; and
  • Differences in LGBTQ youth’s experiences based on race/ethnicity, gender identity and expression, housing status, and disability."

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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 |

For more, please see 

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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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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




For more information and to register: 


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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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Via Roxana Marachi, PhD
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