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Introduction
Table of Contents
Appendices  
Subject Index  
Glossary  
References
Related Links
About the Authors
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0-01: An inclusive, respectful school climate
0-07: Staff training for health/safety emergencies
1-03: Informing families about health/safety programs, policies
5-01: Clean, safe, enjoyable meal environment
5-10: Foods as marketed items, rewards, punishments
6-01: Accessible school facilities and programs
6-20: Safe student conduct during transportation
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Center for Mental Health in Schools.
Resources, technical assistance, and continuing education on topics related to mental health in schools, with a focus on barriers to learning and promotion of healthy development.
Center for School Mental Health Assistance
Supports schools and communities in the development of programs and provides leadership and technical assistance to advance effective interdisciplinary school-based mental health programs.
Children's Safety Network
Resources on child safety in school and on employed youth.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
Connect for Kids
Resources for teachers and parents with advice from mental health professionals.
Keep Schools Safe
Information on violence and unintentional injury prevention in schools.
National Association of School Psychologists
National Institute of Mental Health
Click onto "For the Public" to retrieve publication materials relating to mental health for children and adolescents, including materials on violence and suicide, including surgeon general reports.
National Mental Health Information Center
A web site for the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Links to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and other mental health resources.
National Resource Center for Safe Schools
Students Against Destructive Decisions
Peer leadership organization to promote health and safety.
Students Pledge Against Gun Violence
US Department of Education
US Department of Education - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
US Department of Education - Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Includes publications on effective violence and substance abuse prevention programs.
US Surgeon General Reports
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7-01 - Healthy and safe social environment
 

Establish a safe, healthy social environment at school for students and staff. Each day provide each student with at least one meaningful and positive interaction with a staff person (or other adult). Have policies that are clearly understood by students, staff and families.

   
Rationale
 

A school environment that promotes 'pro-social' student behavior, has high expectations and standards for academic achievement and behavior, and engages students in positive relationships with adults will encourage successful learning and reduce negative, antisocial behaviors.

   
Commentary
 

Students need environments with a clear structure and a sense of safety. When students feel afraid and unprotected, they often take matters into their own hands and display risky and dangerous behaviors as a means of self-protection. Provide an environment that allows students and staff an opportunity to express their feelings, fears, and anxieties about issues that concern them. Develop and fairly enforce rules for bullying, hazing, harassment, or discrimination with student, staff, and family input. Expectations and consequences must be adequately and properly publicized. Arrange for professionally trained staff and student leaders to monitor non-classroom areas (e.g., hallways, restrooms, lunch and recess) and provide social guidance and safety for all individuals.

A daily, meaningful and positive interaction with an adult at school who is capable of having positive expectations for each student's ability to succeed will help each student feel valued. Schools can achieve this in various ways. For example, schools may match each student to a counselor, teacher, administrator, coach or other adult to be their mentor. Some schools have adult volunteers who visit the school on a regular basis in order to read to, mentor, or tutor students. Positive interactions with adults need not be academic. Involve students in various decision making processes. Help students find opportunities in the community where they can engage in positive roles, perhaps as part of community service, recreation or other enrichment experiences. By having a range of non-academic activities at school (e.g., athletics, arts, special interest clubs, Reserve Officers Training Corps, vocational training), schools create excellent additional opportunities for students to feel successful and develop a sense of accomplishment. The development of positive self-esteem comes from a sense of being connected to valued people, places, and things; a sense of uniqueness.

A school's infrastructure can provide students with opportunities to learn and practice social skills, such as communication, problem solving, anger management, mediation, leadership, management and planning skills. Each student should have a sense of ownership, attachment, responsibility, and input into school life (e.g., school government, peer mediation, involvement of students in formal school committees and activities).

Emphasize acceptance, tolerance, respect, and enjoyment of what individual differences bring to a school and community, including staff and student differences in ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, culture and special needs. Communicate with parents for purposes of: recognition of student accomplishments, awareness of behavioral and emotional issues and stresses, and referrals to community resources (e.g., such as social services and those that address substance abuse, violence, or special needs).

   
REFERENCES
 

Bell CC, Gamm S, Vallas P, Jackson P. Strategies for the prevention of youth violence in Chicago public schools. In: Shafii M, Shafii SL, eds. School Violence: Assessment, Management, Prevention. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2001:251-272.

Bogden JF. Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn: A School Health Policy Guide. Part I: Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, and Tobacco Use Prevention. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Boards of Education; 2000.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR-22):1-73.

Dwyer, K. and Osher, D. Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide. Washington, D.C.: US Departments of Education and Justice, American Institutes for Research. 2000.

Henderson AC, Rowe DE. A Healthy school environment. In Marx E, Wooley SF, eds. Health is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs. New York NY: Teachers College Press 1988; 96-115.

Henderson AC. The importance of a healthy school environment. In: Cortese P, Middleton K, eds. The Comprehensive School Health Challenge: Promoting Health Through Education. Santa Cruz, CA: ETR Associates; 1994:145-178.

Los Angeles County Office of Education. Classroom Management: A California Resource Guide for Teachers and Administrators of Elementary and Secondary Schools. Downey, CA: Los Angeles County Office of Education; 2000. Available at: http://www.lacoe.edu/lacoeweb/DocsForms/20010719021044_classroom_mgmt.pdf.

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and National Association of State Directors of Special Education. Mental Health, Schools and Families Working Together for All Children and Youth: Toward a Shared Agenda. Alexandria, VA; 2002.

Weissberg RP, Elias MJ. Enhancing young people's social competence and health behavior: an important challenge for educators, scientists, policymakers, and funders. Applied & Preventive Psychology. 1993;2:179-190.

 
          
 
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