In prevention practice, we know that a great solution can address many problems. With that, we were so excited to hear about the changes to organizational policies and practices that the Warren Township schools in Indianapolis have enacted this year to ensure a positive learning environment for all students
Some highlights of their changes include eliminating “lunch shaming” by providing free breakfast and lunch to all students (regardless of family income), ensuring that all students have access to a school counselor and providing social and emotional education to all students in grades K-12.
Taking steps to promote safe and engaging learning environments is great for our kids. Not only are these environments are optimal for learning, but they also help to prevent multiple forms of violence.
Promoting social and emotional learning and improving school climates and safety are strategies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified for preventing intimate partner violence, sexual violence and suicide; social and emotional learning is also a strategy for preventing adolescent drug use.
Lots of schools bring in community-based violence prevention educators to talk with students about bullying, teen dating violence and sexual violence. While this is an important step, bringing in outsiders to talk about the problem is easier than making systemic changes that increase safety and support within our organizations.
We applaud Warren Township for investing in policies and programs that promote a safe, positive and supportive learning environment for all students.