Tools to Help Students Tell

Tools to help students tell

My last post was about teaching students to break the code of silence around concerning behavior and threats of violence. Today’s post provides some concrete tools to help students tell an adult when they have a concern about someone’s words or behavior.

Tools to help students tell

The Brady Campaign has a long history of unique efforts to end gun violence. This is no exception. Their SPEAK UP campaign is the first national anonymous reporting line for youth. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with trained counselors who take detailed reports and follow up with calls/faxes to designated local authorities. The site is full of information designed to captivate youth. Fortunately for us, it also provides a treasure trove of downloadable materials for educators.

The PBS program The Path to Violence is an enlightening look at what we can do each day to build a healthy and trusting school climate that encourages students to come forward with concerns. It is worth every second of the 54 minutes it will take for you to watch it.

Implementing these simple ideas will increase the likelihood that your students will talk to an adult when something concerns them. This will give you a window of time to intervene and change the outcome, keeping everyone much safer.

Do you have a school safety challenge that needs a solution? Schools around the nation are getting the help they need with a 1-to-1 consulting session. Click here for details.

One of the world’s best known business development experts recently said some amazing things about Youth Risk Prevention Specialists. You can read them here.

Teaching students to break the code of silence

Teaching students to break the code of silence

How do we going about teaching students to break the code of silence? Can we increase the likelihood that our students will speak up when they have concerns about someone’s behavior or have seen/heard something threatening?

There’s good news about teaching students to break the code of silence

It starts with building a climate of trust between the students and the adults working in the school. When kids feel supported and heard, they are more likely to report concerns to an adult who can then act on them.

Consider this: sometimes, we inadvertently train students that it is not safe or effective to tell an adult when something is wrong or when they are concerned about someone’s behavior. With good intentions and the desire to help our students become self-sufficient and capable of navigating relationships, we instruct them to work it out on their own. Perhaps, we remind them to practice the skills they’ve learned through a prevention curriculum like Steps to Respect or Second Step. Or, we believe their conflict is minor and that they will be best served by learning to ignore it.

Unfortunately, when we don’t listen and act on concerns, students learn not to tell us, and more importantly, not to trust us. When we later struggle to motivate students to break the code of silence in middle or high school, we may find it difficult to undo the learning that took place years earlier when referring to their concerns as tattling or pushing kids to work things out on their own.

The most effective way to combat this is to train your staff to listen and follow through on all student concerns, starting with pre-K and continuing through high school. This doesn’t always necessitate action; sometimes just listening and brainstorming solutions with a child are all that’s needed.

A 2008 bystander study commissioned by the U. S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education (Pollack, W. S., Modzeleski, W. & Rooney, G.), revealed additional reasons students did not report concerns. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

This post first appeared here, on LinkedIn. You can connect with me on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Summer is a great time to…

Summer is a great time to...

Summer break is one of the best times for school administrators to review and update district crisis and safety plans. With fewer hours devoted to direct contact with students and teachers, it’s a perfect time to gather your administrative team to update contact information for staff and emergency responders and review policies and protocols for consistency and feasibility.

  • Perhaps you’ve realized that one of your response protocols requires staff members to do something you’ve discovered would not be feasible in all circumstances, and it makes sense to provide alternative procedures
  • Maybe you haven’t addressed a specific hazard that needs to be added to your specific safety plan
  • It might be time to conduct another thorough site vulnerability assessment and attend to less-than-safe elements affecting physical security
  • Maybe you’ve been waiting for the time to research all of the newer safety products and apps on the market
  • Perhaps it’s been a few years since you’ve taken a good look at your safety plan and programming

If you’re not sure where to start, read this for guidance on covering all of the key areas that will significantly improve your school or district level of safety.

If you still need help tackling a specific challenge or want a review of your current plan, consider a brief 1-to-1 consultation to help you move forward with confidence.

This post first appeared here, on LinkedIn. You can connect with me on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Have an amazing summer!