Your school’s students, community members, and prospective families pay attention to the ways that your school supports its students and keeps them safe, which is why it is important that your school makes a concerted effort to demonstrate its commitment to student safety and well-being. Showing your commitment not only highlights your values for students and their families but also establishes a core value of caring for students. While the concrete action that your school takes is the most important indicator of its values and dedication to supporting students, it is also critical to communicate the steps that your school is taking. Your school can show its commitment by publishing a Statement of Commitment to Student Safety and Well-being, communicating expectations and consequences with students openly and through various platforms, and providing resources, services, and training. The following page further details the ways that your school can demonstrate its commitment to student safety and well-being by actively supporting and educating students.
We recommend that your school write a Statement of Commitment to Student Safety and Well-being and publish it on your website and in your Student and Employee Handbooks. This statement can serve to inform community members and prospective families about your school’s dedication to supporting students and keeping them safe. Rather than making broad declarations, we recommend that your statement include detailed information about the types of resources available and systems in place at your school to promote student safety and well-being. While the information provided in this statement is important, it is even more crucial that your school take proper action to back the statement up. Your school should actively demonstrate its values through its behavior. There should be clear consistency between what your school includes in its Statement of Commitment and the action that your school takes, both on a daily basis and when specific incidents of sexual misconduct and abuse arise.
Clear communication and transparency (whenever possible) are important elements to demonstrating your school’s commitment to student safety and well-being. Your school’s website is an important platform for communicating with the school community and prospective families. We recommend that your school post on its website its Statement of Commitment and any other resources, updates, and steps you are taking to support students and prevent sexual misconduct and abuse. Doing so is just another way for your school to show its commitment to its students and other community members, which can then be enhanced through action. The Student Handbook is another platform that we recommend using to communicate this information to students. Likewise, the Employee Handbook should include this information, as employees are largely responsible for keeping students safe.
Providing educational information and other resources and services is yet another way for your school to demonstrate and act on its commitment to student safety and well-being. There are a variety of resources and services that we recommend your school offer to students, from counseling and medical services to reporting resources to online educational resources, and more. For more in-depth recommendations on the types of resources and services to provide, see Learning Courage’s pages on “Supportive Services” and “Student Handbook.” Again, information regarding the types of resources and services available to students and the ways they can access them should be clearly outlined on your school’s website and in the Student Handbook. Employees should also be able to access this information in the Employee Handbook so that they can help direct students to resources and services.
Education and training play a tremendous role in efforts to reduce sexual misconduct and abuse. By creating a comprehensive training program that includes frequent workshops and training sessions on a range of updated content, your school can demonstrate its commitment to student safety and well-being in a proactive way. For more information on this topic, see Learning Courage’s page on “Prevention and Training.”
Your commitment should be to the whole student: their physical and mental well-being as well as their education. When students feel safe in their environment, their success in school is greatly increased. Your school should demonstrate that it is creating an environment where students are accepted, engaged, and supported.
Learning Courage membership gives your school timely, relevant and vital information about how to reduce sexual misconduct and respond appropriately to incidents when they do occur.