School Climate & Safety Opinion

School Safety and Climate: Mirrors, Tubas, and Notebook Paper

By Learning First Alliance — January 22, 2013 3 min read

Dru Tomlin, director of middle level services for the Association for Middle Level Education

As I read M.
Kristiina Montero’s article “Literary
Artistic Spaces Engage Middle Grades Teachers and Students in Critical-Multicultural
” (Middle School Journal,
November 2012, pp. 30-38), I thought about student voices and how critical they
are to school safety and climate. Our journey to better school safety involves
tentative steps and uncertain landscapes. We have safety plans, crisis teams,
and protocol notebooks--and thank goodness we do. Maybe our next steps to improve school safety and climate
should include other items on this new path; items that connect to the middle
grades student.

Step 2: Tubas can help us create safe schools. Before walking briskly
to our band rooms, we should think about what buoyed us in the tumultuous
waters of middle school. For me, it was my tuba. I moved a lot, always trying to fit in and find a home in school.
Band became that home. Each day began with a huge brass tuba perched on my blue
chair. I blew my heart through
that instrument--and made big, beautiful music. What does that have to do with
school safety? Everything. As adults, we often scratch our heads when students
disengage and wonder, “What’s up with that kid?” But do we know why they’re disconnected? Do we know their interests? Do we have activities for them? School safety planning is also about
deliberately creating “homes” in our schools; homes where kids can feel
connected, secure, and special.

More School Safety and Climate Resources:

The Effects of School-wide Positive
Behavior Support on Middle School Climate and Student Outcomes


Reduce Cyberbullying through Climate


Views expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the endorsement of the Learning First Alliance or any of its members.

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