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A more peaceful world begins in our schools

Children need a safe and caring school environment to learn – and to dream. A Safe Schools activity set is part of the Legacy Project's
Our World program. In the spirit of thinking globally and acting locally, one of the places we can start to build a more peaceful world is in our communities, specifically in our schools.

Finding Solutions

Teachers, parents, and children are scared. Children are bullied every day, and no child is immune from the effects of bullying – either as the bullied, the bully, or the bystander. News headlines are filled with stories that are deeply, profoundly sad. Youth violence continues to be a serious concern. Deadly violence involving knives and guns is on the increase. Many children are afraid to go to school, and many parents are afraid what might happen to their children at school.

The solutions are multifaceted. They include creating an environment of cooperation in communities; teaching children empathy and conflict resolution skills; ensuring a safe environment and law enforcement when required; creating effective youth programs; offering family support; creating more opportunities for young people to closely interact with mature adults as confidants, friends, role models, and mentors; and changing mindsets about what's possible. This is your starting point, offering you inspiration and information.

It's important to emphasize that the problem of youth violence isn't just about schools. It's about all of us, about the communities and society we create. The problem isn't the sole responsibility of educators to sort out in isolation. We all have a shared responsibility for working toward achieving safe schools.

Many schools are working to create positive and caring learning environments. They are introducing anti-bullying and conflict resolution programs, and other classroom and playground strategies. If you're a parent, find out what's offered at your local school. If no program exists, ask how you can help start one. If you're not familiar with the safe school policies within your school district, you can ask your principal for a copy. Consider becoming involved in your child's school. By becoming a volunteer, joining a parent organization, or the school council you'll create many opportunities to network with other parents and get to know the teaching staff. If your time is limited, choose to be involved in one or two events that demonstrate your support both for the school and your child.

Keep Hope Alive

Bestselling author and educator Susan V. Bosak created these safe school resources in response to parent and teacher workshops she's done with her award-winning bestseller Dream. As part of the workshops, participants are asked to share their own hopes and dreams. What struck Susan again and again, in workshops that were completely independent of each other, was that teachers and parents would often express a hope for less bullying, less youth violence, and safer schools. They also told Susan that what she was doing gave them some hope. Without hope, what is there?

Susan's definition of hope follows that of Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel:

Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends
the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the conviction that something is moral and right and just and therefore you fight
for it.

Go Ahead, Dream a Dream

Dream by Susan Bosak is illustrated by 15 of the top children's illustrators in the world. Five years in the making, it's an inspiring book about hopes and dreams across a lifetime. It's about making your life and the world a better place. Safe schools are an important place to start.

Dream offers hope. As a book that families and educators can share with children, one of its themes is seeing beyond "what is" to "what can be." Read Dream and use the book along with the activities, ideas, and information on this website to make a difference.

Explore our Safe Schools activities, ideas, and information

>>>  Free online activities for schools
          and families

>>>  Free online guides and tips

>>>  Recommended books
          and resources

>>>  Find out about the Dream book

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