Prevent School Violence
The best way to improve school safety is to stop violence before it enters the school.
Safe Schools reduces school violence through student-led prevention programs. We train students to lead anti-bullying and gun violence prevention efforts in their schools.
There is no gun violence prevention program in New Hampshire. Safe Schools has built one by drawing on the experience of a successful Colorado program (Safe2Tell) and by training students to run it.
The Safe Schools program trains students to identify and report potential threats. It has three parts: 1) a training program to identify the signs of potential violence; 2) a phone/web app and toll-free phone line to anonymously report the threat; and 3) a trained school response team.
We know this approach works because Colorado has done it successfully for over fifteen years with Safe2Tell (http://www.safe2tell.org) and we model our program on Safe2Tell. Although Safe2Tell was started in response to the risk of a school shooting, the majority of reports are for suicide threats, bullying, harassment and other forms of aggression. The program casts a wide and beneficial net.
Safe Schools goes beyond Safe2Tell in two respects. First, as part of a threat response, it provides mentors to at-risk kids. Where there is a human connection, there is less risk for school violence. Trained mentors offer a real connection to at-risk students.
A second component is to give students a voice and a significant role. Students will not engage or lead without having a voice, and if they do not have a role, the evidence is that the program won’t be successful. We teach students how to run the programs.
Bullying has many forms and varies school to school. Safe Schools follows a model pioneered by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center which trains students to develop and run an anti-bullying program that fits their schools’ concerns and needs.
Safe Schools also offers a student leadership and internship program that provides high school juniors an opportunity to design and produce a project of their choosing that reduces school violence or strengthens school culture. There is an association between school violence and school culture. the stronger the culture, the less violence.
The internship will teach high school juniors basic leadership skills and empower them, through self-designed projects, to help make their school safer.
The internship runs for eight-weeks and is offered twice a year. Interns have wide discretion in choosing and producing their project. They will present to a live audience and will be paid $50 a week or $400 over the eight-week program.