Beyond Bullying: Creating Compassion and Civility on Campus

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 18, 2013

At Facing History in Los Angeles, we're getting ready to bring 20-25 high schools* together to explore building stronger communities, so we're thinking a lot about this idea. Since its inception, Facing History and Ourselves has valued and taught how to create safe and reflective classrooms. As the educational partner for the film "Bully" over the past year and a half, we've worked with many schools who want to confront bullying school-wide. Last year, we brought together 25 schools to view the film and come together as school cohorts and student/parent/faculty stakeholders to more deeply explore this issue. But, preventing bullying is just a baseline. Don't we all want more than just a lack of bullying?

"Being careful and thoughtful and a caring member of your community-- we value that." Thabiti Brown, as principal at Codman Academy, a charter public school in Dorchester, Massachusetts, has this to share about how their school supports creation of a community which expresses that value:

"I think there's a lot of things schools can do to reduce the possibility of these things happening. And, you know, one of them is, you know, not just values of caring, fairness, and responsibility that are stuck on posters on walls, but the values that really live and breathe in every aspect of a school's life." Richard Weissbourd is a lecturer in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His work focuses on vulnerability and resilience in childhood, the achievement gap, moral development, and effective schools and services for children.

Both of these and more can be found in "Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism," a resource created by Facing History. After our summit, we'll share additional resources and ideas.

What are the values that define (or that you want to have define) your school community? How do you express those values?

*there are a few spaces at the summit on September 28. Event is free for schools which meet the entry criteria. For more information email

Topics: Safe Schools, Bullying, Urban Education, Social and Emotional Learning

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