The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — April 04, 2014 2 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. I’ve spent my day reading about peer mentoring and figuring out how to get to Dallas to see former President George W. Bush’s paintings of world leaders.

But let’s look at some links related to school climate, student well-being, and the hard work of helping kids understand each other. This week, we learn something unexpected about the targets of bullying, we read about social media in schools, and we find a new way to tell mom and dad that it’s really helpful when their kid buys a school lunch.

On bullying and popularity:

“We are used to worrying about the socially isolated misfits, the tweens and teens who are far down in the pecking order and can’t really defend themselves. We should still worry about those kids, especially if they’re disabled, or gay at a school where that’s not accepted. But they are not the only targets of teenage cruelty.”
Slate’s Emily Bazelon covers a new studythat found that popular kids are more frequently the targets of bullying by their peers.

On defeating prejudice:

“In the past, diversity education has been seen as a tool for avoiding lawsuits. But even when organizers and participants actually care about these issues, it can be hard to have an honest conversation—people often feel too uncomfortable or scared to express their real point of view.”
The Atlantic asks if it is possible to teach children to be less prejudiced.

On gender equality:

“In our Parliament we have 69 women, that is a large number, bigger even than European parliaments.”
Afghan lawmaker Hamida Ahmadza in a Washington Post slideshow of women in Afghanistan’s government. These bits of stereotype-busting media can give students new insights into the world.

On social media:

“According to the results, a measured approach to using social media in education was favored by respondents with just over half agreeing that social media has benefits but that students must be carefully monitored. Others were divided, with about 23 percent saying that social media use is not worth the risk, and nearly 20 percent saying the benefits of use outweigh any risks. Almost six percent said social media should not be used in schools.”
Smart Blog on Educationreports on the resultsof a survey about social media in schools.

On school meals:

“The $2.50 your child spends on lunch doesn’t necessarily add $2.50 to the school’s bottom line. If your child buys the USDA school lunch, the school receives additional funding from the government and makes more money than if your child bought foods from the a la carte line.”
This tool from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Projectexplains how a student’s lunch money affects a school’s bottom line.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.