School Climate & Safety

The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Sound of Silence Edition

By Evie Blad — April 17, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. Is your school a little quieter than usual today?

That might be because some of your students are participating in GLSEN’s Day of Silence, “an annual international event that brings attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment that is common in schools.”

“Students typically take a vow of silence as a symbolic representation of the silencing effect of anti-LGBT language and bullying experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies,” the organization says on its website. Celebrities, policy makers, and policitians showed support for students on Twitter.

School climate researchers say LGBT students often face bullying in schools, and many who are also students of color deal with especially harsh treatment. But more needs to be done to track school climate for LGBT students and to track that data to ensure interventions are working, they say.

Some also advocate for state and federal policies to define bullying and to specify sexual orientation and gender identity among prohibited forms of harrassment. Recently, a discussion about potential federal bullying policies played a role in a Senate panel’s discussion of a proposed new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. You should read more about that in Lauren Camera’s post on Politics K-12.

When you’re done with that, check out these other great links on school climate.

More on bullying...

The intention of anti-bullying laws and policies is to help make clear that bullying must be addressed. We cannot limit for whom those policies work." —As lawmakers debated anti-bullying policies, expert Deborah Temkin tweeted out this 2013 column about the three crucial words those policies should include.

On building a growth mindset in students...

The fact is, no matter our status or past achievements, we can all improve at what we do. But for this to happen, we need someone trustworthy to point out to us how we are falling short." —This column about providing constructive negative feedback to coworkers could prove useful for teachers as well.

Thinking about how teachers think...

Unconsciously, we create a story about other people, institutions, and the world which drives our behavior. While everyone has them (in fact, we need them to make sense of the complex world in which we live), all mental models are flawed to some extent and usually invisible to us." —This Edutopia piece discusses the implicit biases we all carry and how those "mental models" can affect classroom relationships.

Speaking of bias...

Teachers in the United States were more likely to feel troubled when a black student misbehaved for a second time than when a white student did, highlighting a bias that shows why African-American children are more often disciplined than schoolmates, Stanford University researchers said on Wednesday." —There was lots of chatter this week about this Stanford study, which confirmed the conclusions many researchers have made after reviewing data that shows disproportionately high discipline rates for black students.

I get so emotional, baby...

It may sound cliché, but as an increasingly robust body of research is demonstrating, emotions play a critical role in overall well-being. From physical health to academic and professional success, how someone feels has a tremendous impact on many key aspects of his or her life." —Lady Gaga's mom talks about raising her popstar daughter and the work the two are doing, along with Yale University, to measure the impact of emotions on students' lives.

On the secret lives of students...

I wish my teacher knew sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom is not around a lot." —When a Colorado teacher asked her students to complete the sentence "I wish my teacher knew," many of the results were heartbreaking and illuminating. What would students in your school write?

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