Another school year gone. My heart goes out to the kids who waded through more than their share of social garbage last term. Hopefully they'll get a needed reprieve during the summer. But summer is short and when it ends they'll head back to school. Most of them (and their parents and teachers) are probably not looking forward to dealing with the inevitable peer-to-peer crapola (online and off).
I'm in the prevention business and always working on ways to make schools more compassionate. Here’s my latest attempt to rattle some cages, which I've adapted from the Charter For Compassion's call to action for cities.
A compassionate school is an uncomfortable school!
Uncomfortable when anyone is threatened, harassed, or made to feel less than.
Uncomfortable when every child isn’t treated with respect by every teacher and every other student.
Uncomfortable when every student isn’t given rich opportunities to grow intellectually, creatively, and emotionally.
Uncomfortable when, as a school community, we don’t treat each other as we want to be treated.
A compassionate school knows uncomfortable feelings aren’t worth zippo, if they don’t trigger action. So a compassionate school recognizes the discomfort and immediately works for change with the full leadership and commitment of all administrators and teachers. With adult leadership, students learn how they too can become change agents. Because, whether students admit it or not, they desperately want their school to be a place where every kid is treated with respect. Every one.
Got it? Good. Now let's start thinking about new ways to make our schools really uncomfortable this fall. We’re in this together.