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Position Statement on Safe and Humane Schools: Violence Prevention

March 19, 2015

Introduction

Many tragic school shootings in recent years have motivated policy-making aimed at putting an end to senseless violence in schools. Yet most violence prevention remains reactive, aiming to identify and reduce risk factors (Banyard, 2013), rather than facilitating positive attitudes, behaviors, and relationships that are the foundation of safety in schools. Moreover, legislation that focuses on school building safety (e.g., security guards, metal detectors, surveillance cameras) or exclusionary discipline (e.g., suspension, expulsion, arrest) may have limited effectiveness, and may actually contribute to a climate of danger and fear in school. Safe learning environments that promote the physical and psychological safety of students and adults must include considerations for a positive school climate, with a focus on student and family engagement, caring and supportive relationships, and behavioral health.

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