Is SEL a Part of Your School Safety Plans?

March 18, 2019
Safety Insight

With school shootings, violence, and bullying on the rise, improving the safety of our students and schools remains a top priority for district administrators across the nation. For many district administrators, “hardening” school facilities is the most common response to the constant pressure from parents, communities, and school boards to do “something.”

Tactics like metal detectors, door barricades, bulletproof backpacks, and perimeter fencing are among the most common school safety improvements and are great ways to enhance the overall physical security of your schools. But what effect do these school safety improvements have on the academic success of your students? And how do these improvements assist with everyday occurrences like bullying and physical altercations?

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security has categorized school incidents into several categories, ranging from escalation of a dispute to self-defense. The vast majority of school incidents fall into the escalation of a dispute category, which is defined as an argument or fight between the shooter and the victim prior to the shooting, which makes social and emotional learning an element all schools should consider when improving their school safety plans.

Creating a more positive school culture with social and emotional learning (SEL) can help your students, teachers, and staff understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Our partner, Cultures of Dignity, delivered a presentation on how to transform the way educators understand youth culture and how to create communities where students can thrive. During the presentation, Charlie Kuhn, Co-Founder and CEO of Cultures of Dignity, provided concrete, common sense strategies for educators with a focus on the importance of social and emotional learning in communities; defining dignity and respect; realistic definitions of bullying, bystanding, teasing, drama, and social conflict; and how to identify the dynamics that lead to social conflict.

Upon reflection, are your schools creating a culture where students, teachers, and staff are treated with dignity? Find out by taking a moment to answer these four questions:

Are you four for four? Or is there one question in particular that really strikes home for you?

If you can relate to any of these four questions or you would just like to learn more about how to create a culture of dignity in your school, we encourage you to watch the below on-demand event.

Cari Struble