California Educator

November / December 2016

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How Educators Can Respond Here are ways you can respond to inci- dents of hateful words, actions and images in school: 1. Be present and available. Bullying can occur anywhere in the school building or on the grounds. Be present during school transitions. Tell your students they can come to you. 2. Intervene! If you witness bullying, racist slurs or name-calling, stop the incident immediately. Separate the students. Get help from other staff if needed. Ask tar- geted students if they 're OK. 3. Give clear messages. Students who bully or commit acts of hate must hear the message that their behavior is wrong and harms others. Targeted students must hear the message that caring adults will protect them. 4. Be calm. Don't require students to apolo- gize or make amends right after you stop the incident. You may not know the full story. Keep everyone calm as you first focus on safety. 5. Support the targeted students. Make eye contact with the targeted students, demonstrate empathy, and reassure them that what happened was not their fault. 6. Tell students never to ignore bullying or hateful actions. Let bystanders who stood up for targeted students know that you admire their courage and thank them. Give other bystanders examples of how to intervene appropriately the next time (such as getting help from an adult, telling the person to stop). 7. Investigate, document, follow up. After the incident, question all involved indi- vidually. If appropriate, impose immediate consequences on students who bullied; provide them necessary support, such as counseling. Work with colleagues to improve your school climate to build a culture that prevents bullying. 8. Be a caring advocate. Make sure students are supported and have the resources they need well beyond the incident. Involve other staff who can pro- vide guidance and emotional support. Source: NEA Stand Up for Students Pledge to make schools a safe environment for all students O U R S C H O O L S S H O U L D be havens. Every student deserves a safe, welcoming, affirming learning environment. Recently, there has been an increase in hate speech and hostile acts directed at students in schools. Many students are scared and anxious. ere are reports of fake deportation notices, swastikas drawn in bathrooms, and racist graf- fiti. LGBTQ+ students have been intimidated; headscarves have been torn off. Children are hearing they are not welcome in our schools and in our country. As an educator, you are on the front lines dealing with the bullying and harassment of our most vulnerable children and youth. You can reassure stu- dents that school is a safe place for learning, that bigotry and prejudice are wrong, and that every person has a right to their own thoughts and opinions. You can also join with other educators to show that you are standing up for students. NEA is building a national movement of educators and allies com- mitted to safe and affirming school climates and school communities. e first step is to sign this pledge: "I will stand up and I will speak up for my students, so that they all have a safe and affirming learning environment. I will take action with NEA so that every student feels welcome and safe at school." You can sign it online at After you take the pledge, send a link to colleagues and other educators in your school, asking them to join you. Research indicates that the tipping point for creating safe and affirming schools requires at least six educators to show support. Once at least six people from a school have signed the pledge, NEA will send a kit with materials and resources to show that you are an advocate for students in your school, and to take action on related issues. You can also engage parents, community members and other allies by asking them to sign a version of the pledge for noneducators.For more information, see and 11 November / December 2016 safe schools in the know

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