Leadership magazine Sept/Oct 2018 V48 No. 1 - Page 32

We need a bigger clicker Deep, meaningful relationships with students are key to creating a culture. First, let me ensure we are clear about some debate topics that are playing themselves out currently in our communi- ties. We will never make our children or anyone else completely safe through metal detectors, gun control, school resource offi- cers or legislative actions. If it were possible, then maximum security prisons would be safe places and they absolutely are not safe. However, our processes provide a better way to connect to most inmates with whom I’ve worked, and they can make prisons safer; I will illustrate later. Second, we overlook the fact that teach- ers are our first responders in every school incident. It has been that way since public schools began. It will continue to be that way. Third, if teachers are the first responders, then we should be focusing on what they can do and what they are doing that works to minimize violence in schools. School safety is about teachers and the education commu- nity and the immense influence we have over 32 Leadership everything that happens on a school cam- pus. To say otherwise is to abdicate our roles and our responsibilities to others, which I am not ready or willing to do. Connected kids are far less apt to go on a violent rampage. The research is profound on this singular point and we cannot ignore the pivotal role every teacher plays in this process. (Resnick et al, 1997; Center for Disease Control, 2009). In repeated stud- ies of more than 90,000 adolescents (larg- est study to date) they found that the single factor that lowered adolescent risk behaviors is connectedness to an appropriate adult at home or school. You can debate this if you choose, but the facts are there, and the dis- cussion is not about are they right or not. The question is what will we do with the data? To illustrate, allow me to tell you about May 26, 2016, which was one of the most in- credible days of my life. It was my second day By Flip Flippen