Ensuring Safe School Environments: Exploring Issues, Seeking Solutions

Ensuring Safe School Environments: Exploring Issues, Seeking Solutions

Ensuring Safe School Environments: Exploring Issues, Seeking Solutions

Ensuring Safe School Environments: Exploring Issues, Seeking Solutions


Ensuring Safe School Environments: Exploring Issues-Seeking Solutions grew out of a policy statement issued by the American Council on Rural Special Education (ACRES). During the 1998 ACRES Conference in Charleston, school violence erupted in Arkansas. The ACRES membership responded immediately with a policy statement followed by a special topical issue of the Rural Special Education Quarterly. (RSEQ). This text includes many of the articles published in the journal and has added discussion questions and activities to enhance understanding of and reflection on the issues surrounding school violence.

Presenting the "big picture" in regard to school violence, this book discusses:

* different solutions others have used to deal with youth violence;

*the different types of programs that have been successful with youth violence;

*school violence from the perspectives of Various parts of the country;

*the frequency of violence in urban, suburban, and rural schools, as well as violence as it directly impacts the school administrator;

*strategies for preventing and addressing violence at both school and individual levels; and

*ways to work with the community, both in and out of the school.

The text is intended as supplementary material for any course preparing school administrators. Containing both research and practice, the text can be a guide for practicing school administrators, as well in their search for ways to insure the safety and well being of the students whom they serve.


In the past, one didn't think of schools to be dangerous places. But these later days are days of unrest, everywhere. And, days of courage too. School violence, just as any instance of violence in the nation and internationally, really is everyone's problem. And, in the instance of violence at school, the authors of this book make clear their insistence that everyone accept responsibility for making schools a safe environment. The problem is systemic.

Scott Poland, in his testimony of which chapter 1 is comprised, establishes the systemic framework. Poland provides a broadened perspective to the issue. His message is that “guns and metal detectors are merely small parts in solving the problem of school violence. In fact, society needs to reinvent itself. ” And, from the second chapter on, the basis for this “reinvention” is provided.

The volume is organized in two parts. In the first, the focus is on the issues themselves. A comparison is made between urban and rural school environments. A research base is presented; the school's principal's role is explored. The final chapter of Part I discusses the tensions, concerns, and problems with which the school leader is confronted on a daily basis.

The second part of the book focuses on solutions—what is being done and what else can be done. Included in this part are chapters on effective conflict management practices, behavioral support plans, school—community relations, the development of a caring school community as a way to decrease tendencies toward violence, and a model program, the Montana Behavioral Initiative, which provides an in-practice statewide program designed to demonstrate how to begin to develop a communityfocused school.

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