What if We Made Schools More Uncomfortable?


Another school year gone. My heart goes outto the kids who waded through more than their share of social garbage last term. Hopefully they’ll get a neededreprieve 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 onways to make schools more compassionate. Here’s my latest attempt to rattle some cages, which I’ve adapted from the Charter For Compassion’scall to action for cities.

A compassionate school is anuncomfortable school!
Uncomfortable when anyone is threatened, harassed, or made to feelless 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 acompassionate school recognizes the discomfort and immediately worksfor changewith the full leadership and commitment of all administrators and teachers. With adult leadership, students learn how they too can become change agents. Because, whether studentsadmit it or not, they desperately want theirschool to be a place where every kidis treated with respect.Everyone.

Got it? Good. Now let’s start thinking about new ways to make our schools really uncomfortable this fall. We’re in this together.

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