Problem of Healthy Environment in Schools

A social issue that will likely impact future educational policy is “creating a safe and healthy environment in every school.” I chose this social issue because it has become even more relevant in today’s day and age, as you have students in elementary school committing suicide at such a young age because of bullying, high school students bringing guns to school and killing those around them due to mental illness, discrimination against the LGBT community, etc. According to Bradley D.

Stein (2012), “One in 4 children experience a mental health disorder annually, and half of those who will have a mental health disorder at some point in their life, will first be diagnosed at age 14 or younger. Furthermore, about half of all children will experience a traumatic event—such as the death of a parent, violence, or extreme poverty—before they reach adulthood. Also, as the opioid epidemic continues to grow, students are coming to school affected by a parent’s addiction, as well as, the havoc and instability that it can wreak on family life.

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” In addition, as students experience other issues—such as puberty; family matters, like divorce; and bullying—having supportive trained adults to talk to in school is critical for improving their well-being and attention to learning.

With that said, a school must be safe. Creating this condition requires thoughtful and constant attention to the security and safety of the facilities; creation of clear policies and procedures for student and staff conduct; frequent and effective communication with parents, families, and the school community; and attention to classroom management, as well as, the mandatory professional development.

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Without these conditions in place, learning cannot become a school’s focus. As stated by Budge & Parrett (2012), “While staff must be aware of early warning signs of harassment and bullying and act swiftly to intervene if warranted, this awareness, action, and timely intervention will only happen when trust has developed, and relationships of mutual respect have been formed between students and adults.” Establishing daily contact and demonstrating concern for each child provides a comfort zone for communication between teacher and student. In my school, we do just that, by pairing up a student who tends to have behavioral issues, with a teacher they have a close relationship with. My school also follows a disciplinary program called, PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). We have a PBIS committee in our school that consists of administration, classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and the parent coordinator. They organize lesson plans for the teachers to do in the classroom around scenarios dealing with bullying, tolerance, etc. They coordinate a “Respect for All week,” and set-up activities that go on throughout the day. They have guest speakers come in and put on plays around the topics mentioned above. There is a schoolwide system, too, where grades are broken into houses (i.e. Obama House – Pre-K thru 1st Grade, Oprah House – 2nd thru 3rd Grade, Ochoa House – 4th thru 5th Grade), and given house bee bucks, based on behavior throughout the school day. House bee bucks earn them various prizes, and even a trip to the school store/ game lounge. Based on www.pbis.org, the “Key Elements of Effective Policy to Enhance Equity in School Discipline” are:

  • Specific Commitment to Equity
  • Family Partnerships in Policy Development
  • Focus on Implementing Positive, Proactive Behavior Support Practices
  • Clear, Objective Discipline Procedures
  • Removal or Reduction of Exclusionary Practices
  • Graduated Discipline Systems with Instructional Alternatives to Exclusion
  • Procedures with Accountability for Equitable Student Outcomes

All things considered, I couldn’t agree more with the suggestion given by Brown, Johnson, & Partelow (2018), “To better serve students, mental health counseling and academic guidance roles should be separated, and all students should have access to both types of supports. In addition, every student with pressing mental health needs should have access in school to counseling from a trained professional, and every school should have the personnel necessary to implement schoolwide behavioral support and social-emotional learning programs.”

To sum up, as Fowler (2013) points out, following policy issues is crucial for school leaders, and they must be aware of the major changes occurring in their social and economic environment, and of how those changes may eventually give rise to education policy issues. “They must know what issues are being defined in think tanks, universities, and foundations, and must also follow the legislative process at the federal and state levels” (Fowler, pgs. 19-20). Above all, it is vital for school leaders to be active and informed. Such activity is the necessary foundation for being a “knowledgeable participant in the policy process” beyond the limits of the district.

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Problem of Healthy Environment in Schools. (2021, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/problem-of-healthy-environment-in-schools-essay

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