As we begin a new year, I can’t help but wonder whether we will make the changes necessary to create safer schools for our students and staff. We talk a lot about what it takes to keep students safe and in reality, it isn’t that difficult.
- We must take a critical look at our school climate and be sure we are providing a safe haven for children and teens.
- We must foster a sense of belonging in our school communities, where we celebrate and respect differences, and everyone has a place to call “home”.
- We must listen when others speak so we can truly hear their messages.
- We must offer a helping hand to those who are struggling so they can find their way clear of pain and anger.
- We must stop relying on hope as a strategy, as in “I really hope we’ve done what we need to so our school doesn’t experience a tragedy” or “I hope we don’t have anyone like that here, at our school.”
- We must work on these simple acts of kindness and humanity together, if we are ever to create safer schools.
That is my hope, and I know very well that hope is not a strategy. That’s why I dedicate myself to working intensively with school districts so they can rest assured that they truly have done everything they can to make their schools a safer place.
Happy New Year!