The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — May 16, 2014 2 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules Readers. Today I’ve been watching this adorable British boy perform his anti-bullying rap on Britain’s Got Talent. I want so badly to be too cool for this, but the adorable accents and touching lyrics are pretty great. Excuse me, I think I’ve got some dust in my eyes or something ...

After you watch that, I’ve got quite a few great links for you about student well-being, whole-child supports, and youth viewpoints. This week, we read about the non-academic supports necessary to help some poor students get a college degree, the problem of adolescent depression, how status offenses feed young people into the criminal justice system, and more.

On status offenses:

“Children whose only infraction was struggling with a loathing for school were pulled into the criminal-justice system, branded with permanent delinquency records and jailed with kids who had actually committed crimes, parents complained. All this happened without their kids having lawyers, some parents said, and some children dropped out rather than getting back to an education.”
—The Center for Public Integrity takes a deep dive into Tennessee youth charged with status offenses, like truancy, which are only considered crimes because of their ages.

On teen depression:

“The very things that can exacerbate and even cause mental health problems are also the factors that make it harder to detect. ‘Violence, poverty, humiliation and feeling devalued can increase the risk of developing mental health problems,’ according to the WHO. But people who are living in poverty or in societies plagued by violence are far less likely to have access to services for diagnosis and treatment. Young people feel devalued because they’re being treated as less than valuable.”
—Slate’s Amanda Marcotte says adults need to fret less about twerking and spring break behaviors and focus on the major problem of depression in youth.

On school safety:

“‘It’s a requirement that nobody checks to see if anybody [is doing],’ said Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight. ‘It’s like, we’re having a test Wednesday, but you never get a test, so who knows who studied and who didn’t?’”
—The Minneapolis Star-Tribune finds that many Minnesota schools aren’t conducting lockdown drills mandated by state law and that no one is checking to see if they are.

On race:

“Respondents believed people should be treated the same, regardless of race, and they felt people their age believed in equality more than older people. Most felt President Obama’s election was proof that racism was mostly a phenomenon of the past, and that race was not a barrier to accomplishment.”
—NPR’s Code Switch covers a national poll exploring young people’s views on race, bias, and identity.

On poverty and college persistence:

“U.T.'s efforts are based on a novel and controversial premise: If you want to help low-income students succeed, it’s not enough to deal with their academic and financial obstacles. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears. To solve the problem of college completion, you first need to get inside the mind of a college student.”
—The New York Times Magazine covers the non-cognitive issues that cause many students from low-income families to stumble on their way to graduation.

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