Though school shootings are what grab the headlines, an estimated 160,000 students stay home from school because they are afraid of hurtful treatment by their peers. Millions more attend classes fearful of the next insult, intimidating look, or shove, most of which happen out of sight and earshot of adults. For far too many students, school is a minefield; one wrong step can trigger exclusion, ridicule, bullying, or even physical violence.
Safe School Ambassadors is an essential guide for school administrators, counselors, teachers, parents, and youth organization leaders. It challenges the current "outside–in" thinking—that keeping schools safe is accomplished primarily by adults through heightened security and stricter policies. It makes the case for a complementary "inside–out" approach that taps the power of students to change the social norms of a school culture in order to stop bullying and violence.
Based on the proven Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) program that has been successfully launched in more than 550 schools, the book provides a roadmap schools can use to empower students with the tools to help stop a broad spectrum of mistreatment. The Safe School Ambassador program also fosters increased tolerance and acceptance of diversity, as well as an environment that encourages higher grades and better attendance.
Praise for Safe School Ambassadors
"At a time when many talk about the need to stop bullying and other forms of violence, it is refreshing to encounter a book that shows us how to do so. Safe School Ambassadors offers a unique and powerful approach by empowering bystanders to become peacemakers."
—Barbara Coloroso, educator and author, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander
"This very practical book offers an innovative and proven approach to decreasing violence in schools through student empowerment. It is the only sane solution for ensuring security in our society."
—Deepak Chopra, author, The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering, 100 Days of Healing
"Bullying and youth violence are critical public health issues that have serious academic, social, and emotional costs. This book provides an antidote that can decrease acts of intolerance and create a healthy and compassionate learning community."
—Deborah Prothrow–Stith, MD, Harvard School of Public Health
"The Safe School Ambassadors program has provided us with a well–designed student–to–student initiative that has made a positive difference in over 30 of our district′s schools."
—Alison Adler, Ed. D., chief, safety and learning environment, School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
Part I: The Extent and Costs of Mistreatment and the Outside–In Response.
Chapter 1: A Day in the Life.
Chapter 2: The High Cost of Mistreatment.
Chapter 3: The Outside–In Approach.
Part II Building Safer Schools from the Inside Out.
Chapter 4: The Inside–Out Approach.
Chapter 5: Building a Safe School Climate.
Part III: Youth as Social Change Agents.
Chapter 6: Empowering Youth.
Chapter 7: Understanding and Mobilizing Bystanders.
Chapter 8: From Bystanders to Peacemakers.
Chapter 9: Results and Stories of Ambassadors in Action.
Part IV: A Call to Action.
Chapter 10: A Road Map for the Future.
Appendix A: Presentation Tips.
Appendix B: Responding to Questions and Concerns.
Appendix C: Ambassador Survey.
Appendix D: Recruiting Allies and Partners.
Appendix E : Needs Assessment.
John Linney, M.A., has twenty years of youth development experience and is the executive director of Impact Coaching and Speaking, specializing in organizational climate issues.
Chris Pack, BSE, program director of Community Matters, co–developed the Safe School Ambassadors program and has developed and delivered many training seminars on youth development.