You Have the Power to Change Your School’s Climate

Every October, during National Bullying Prevention Month, I think back to my very first job in a school as a lunch lady (ok, a salad girl). Too often, I saw a child who sat alone. I saw a child mock another child. I saw a child being tripped or pushed. I always intervened, but I never had any formal training on what to do when I saw bullying.

You see, for a very long time bullying was treated as a harmless rite of passage—and bullied students were assured, “You’ll get over it.” What’s more, resources for addressing bullying were virtually nonexistent. I did my best, but today educators don’t have to guess. We know what works in preventing bullying, and it starts with addressing school climate.

What is school climate, anyway? The National School Climate Center refers to it as, “the quality and character of school life,” and argues that, “a positive school climate is associated with academic achievement, effective risk prevention efforts and positive youth development.” I like to think about it as the feeling of protection and security and joy we should get when we are in school.

Today, students are being targeted with hate speech, for their sexual orientation and gender, and for cultural or religious bias (with many quoting the President of the United States, I might add). This exacts a terrible toll on students’ brains and psyches, not to mention the well-documented impacts on declining academic achievement and rising absenteeism.

So what can we do about it? Well, addressing your school’s climate is a prime example of educator power. 

That’s why I’m inviting you to join a series of webinars that will teach you how tackle difficult subjects with students, and how to speak up at your school to create a positive climate for students and educators alike.

Co-hosted by NEA EdJustice and Teaching Tolerance, these webinars will provide you with the knowledge and tools to tackle these issues head on. And as educators, I know you won’t be afraid to do just that. Learn more about what you can do to address your school’s climate.

NEA EdJustice and Teaching Tolerance Present:


Speak Up at School

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Learn strategies for responding to biased remarks in a timely manner and helping students to do the same. You will learn to name different types of biased language you might hear at school, identify words that have become colloquial yet are still harmful, understand intent versus impact and gain valuable skills for creating a positive school climate.

Register here to join live or receive a recording of the webinar.

One Response to “You Have the Power to Change Your School’s Climate”

  1. Gary Hill

    Concerning your comment “with many quoting the President of the United States I might add”. As an educator, I would appreciate being able to read an article on changing the climate of a school without having to read someone’s political bias. The mainstream media does enough president bashing without having to read it in educational articles. It’s quite hypocritical to write about tolerance while being intolerant of those of us who support our President. You are inferring that conservatives hate homosexuals, transgender, and Muslims. I am an Administrator at a school in Texas. I would consider most of the students to be conservative. We have Muslims and a number of gay students. In the three years that I’ve been here, I have never dealt with someone bullying someone for their religious beliefs or their sexual orientation. The bullies that I have encountered are not a product of their religious homes, but broken homes. These bullies have experienced the pain of not feeling loved and accepted. Why are these issues not addressed? It’s time to stop bullying the conservatives and begin addressing the “real” problem that leads young people to act out in hate.


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