I am VERY excited the Safe School Ambassador program I train was featured on PBS KVIE. This program is being implemented in over 2,000 schools across the country because it WORKS! The school highlighted was high school, but the program starts at 4th grade and goes up through 12th grade. If we want to build safer schools and decrease violence, WE HAVE TO EMPOWER THE STUDENTS and give them OWNERSHIP Why?
- STUDENTS hear, see and know things adults don’t. They are the one’s being mistreated, or they KNOW who is being mistreated.
- STUDENT’S are the ones who have SOCIAL INFLUENCE over their peers. Peer acceptance is VERY important to them.
- STUDENTS have the numbers! They are 90% of the school’s population so let’s let them do the social work!
- STUDENT’s are the one’s on the scene when things go down. Teachers, we are usually…teaching.
One illustration I always share at a training is that of being a LICENSED DRIVER. As a driver, I KNOW the law and I KNOW I am supposed to drive the speed limit. But reality is NOBODY drives the speed limit. It’s an understood NORM that as a driver, you drive with the flow of traffic. Everyone does it, I do it and if you are a licensed driver, you do it. BUT as soon as I see a police officer on the freeway, what am I going to do? I’m going to STOP breaking the law and drive the speed limit. So, police officers don’t usually see many people breaking the law by speeding. The SAME holds true at schools. Everyone knows what the social norms are at school; who is picked on, who is everyone mean to, how people are mean and hurt each other BUT as teachers and adults on school campus, when we are around, SOCIAL NORMS are dropped and students follow the “laws” or rules of their schools. We as teachers and adults DON’T usually see what is happening but STUDENTS do! We have to EMPOWER students and EQUIP them with tools and techniques that ACTUALLY work to interact with their peers.
If frustrates me when I hear adults or even parents say things like, “If you see someone being mistreated, just stand up for them and stop it from happening.” I have taught it as a teacher and as a mom and for SOME people they have the confidence to do it. Most students however, will tell you, they are not comfortable confronting a peer, or even a friend so that pep talk is not going to encourage them to stop someone or something from happening. So, we have to give them ACTUAL tools and techniques they CAN use. The Safe School Ambassador program’s tools WORK, students use them ALL.THE.TIME. and often the students doing the bullying, have no idea, they were just stopped from bullying. There are some serious undercover ops used. 🙂
After seeing a training and experiencing these tools and the way the SSA program empowers students, I seriously quit my teaching job which I loved (at the end of the school year of course) to become a trainer because I saw how it changes students in two days and teaches skills they can comfortably and successfully use with their peers and friends at school but also for the rest of their lives outside of school.
If you would like to know how you can bring Safe School Ambassadors to your school, I can be your trainer! Please shoot me a message or you can reach out to Community Matters at (707) 823-6159. DON’T THINK YOUR SCHOOL CAN”T AFFORD IT! COMMUNITY MATTERS has great resources to help you find funding!