The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — May 09, 2014 2 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. Today I’ve been reading my friend Laura’s really beautiful essay about her mother that was published in Slate and debating on Twitter about whether the fight over the Common Core State Standards has been “undercovered.” (I can point to some pretty talented colleagues who’ve been covering that discussion thoroughly for some time now.)

But let’s dig into some links for people who care about kids. This week, prom provides yet another way for high school boys to be cruel, we ask whether bullied students really are more likely to carry weapons, a boy is punished when he refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and more.

Adding to the list of reasons I am glad I am not in high school:

“Casting aside the tradition of actually asking someone on a date, some male students at affluent Corona del Mar High School say they select prom dates in an NFL-style draft—selling first-round picks to those eager for a top selection.”
—Boys at a California high school have a particularly cringe-inducing way of selecting prom dates, the Corona del Mar Daily Pilot reports. Educators: How would you handle this if it happened in your school?

On bullying research:

“Most research is cost-prohibitive to access without academic credentials and can be difficult to interpret without a trained eye. Yet, the news is selective about what research it reports, often focusing on those studies that reinforce preconceived notions about bullying and those that may cause scandal, regardless of their validity. “
—Deborah Temkin, the bullying prevention manager at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, writes in the Huffington Post with questions about the validity of a heavily covered research finding that bullying victims are more likely to carry weapons.

On autism and bullying:

“‘They may not even understand teasing if it’s happening right in front of them, much less if it’s behind their back,” said Ms. Murray. “A lot of our kids would definitely not pick up on those social cues and understand the perspective of another student.”
—EdWeek’s Christina Samuels writes about the complicated task of teaching students with autism to recognize and stand up to bullying.

On perspective:

At Friday’s event, about 80 students participated in an exercise to visualize the differences in privilege created by race and gender. The students began in a single line, but as students were asked to step forward or backward based on questions about the social repercussions of their socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and sexual identities, the line became disjointed.”
—The Harvard Crimson writes about a push by some students in the Kennedy School of Government to create a “mandatory orientation program to help incoming students and faculty better recognize and address race and gender in the classroom.”

Pledge or be punished:

I’m really tired of our government taking advantage of us. I don’t agree with the NSA spying on us.”
—Texas teenager Mason Michalec explains why he refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, a decision that landed him a two-day, in-school suspension. Would you have issued similar discipline?

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