School Climate & Safety

The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Bad Adult Behavior Edition

By Evie Blad — March 20, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. Before I share some links, let’s talk about how the Internet affects school climate.

Schools are increasingly teaching their students how to responsibly use social media and disciplining them if they use online forums to harrass their peers. There’s an increased understanding that “cybercivility” is a skill set and a character trait children need to develop to grow into responsible adults.

Recently, it’s been clear that some of our current adults didn’t get those lessons when they were in school.

A fraternity at Penn State is under fire for creating a secret Facebook group that hosted compromising photos of women without their consent. A University of Maryland fraternity member is under investigation for sending a racist, sexist email. And, in the offline world, a North Carolina State fraternity was suspended when officials discovered a pledge book of racist quotes.

In Missouri, a eulogy for a politician who recently committed suicide—allegedly after a whisper campaign about his Jewish heritage—became a stirring call for civility among adults.

“We read stories about cyberbullying, and hear of young girls who killed themselves because of it,” former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth said at the funeral for state Auditor Thomas A. Schweich. “But what should we expect from children when grown ups are their examples of how bullies behave?”

And, in a TED Talk, Monica Lewinsky talked about her own experiences in the spotlight after her affair with former President Bill Clinton.

All of this tees me up for a pretty big question: How should schools talk to students about treating their peers fairly and kindly when, in some cases, the level of empathy we expect from them is higher than what they see from many adults in media, politics, and popular culture?

When you’re done pondering that, check out some other reads I found around the Internet this week.

An increasing risk of incarceration...

Back in 1979, African-American men who dropped out of high school had about a 15 percent chance of ending up in prison by age 30-35. These days, it's nearly 70 percent." —This Boston Globe story on incarceration includes a trend not unfamiliar to many educators.

How to promote social and emotional learning...

Because the mission of schools is to equip students for success in the future, a greater emphasis should be placed on the social and emotional skills students will need for work and for life." —This American Institutes for Research report includes "levers" policymakers can pull to promote social and emotional learning.

On the sticky issue of how students dress...

Apparently, some students and staff members complained his outfit was 'distracting,' " Cheri wrote, "and instead of taking the opportunity to educate those individuals about Morgan's right to self-expression, she asked him to remove his beaded shrug, lace gloves and fashion belt." —How should educators respond when a student wears a distracting outfit? And how can they ensure that an unfair gender bias isn't swaying their actions?

On getting pre-k students to show up...

Cities are pouring millions of dollars into early-education programs, often aimed at their neediest young children. But many of those children aren't showing up." —Christina A. Samuels covers the complicated issue of encouraging pre-k attendance.

On whether after-school funds actually help...

[T]he history of federal after-school programs suggests that a program that was funded on its potential can continue to be funded based on a kind of wishful thinking in which evidence is viewed through rose-colored glasses." —The Time and Learning blog covers a criticism of federal after school funds.

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