This book serves as a guide for readers interested in improving school climate. Using 15 years of consultation and research in a variety of United States and foreign schools, the authors strip down the elements needed to create a healthy and productive school climate. The book challenges many commonly held notions about violence prevention and outlines a simple and inexpensive formula for creating sustained change in any school. The book stresses understanding of the underlying processes involved in the bully-victim-bystander power dynamics, the value of altruism, and the use of natural leaders to begin and sustain change in a school climate.
"This is an important book. Building on years of K-12 school-based research and school improvement efforts, the authors describe a framework and a series of linked goals that are both wise and practical. In fact, Twemlow and Sacco were two of the first people in America to focus on the critical role that passive bystanders play in bully-victim behavior. If you truly care about promoting safe, caring and responsible schools, read this book."—Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., president, Center for Social and Emotional Education; adjunct professor in Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
"Drs. Twemlow and Sacco cogently and provocatively address the "undiscussables" in the bullying intervention literature. This book challenges us to think about the complexity of bullying behaviors and not to over-simplify the challenges facing educators, students, and parents. To truly stop bullying, we have to embrace a cultural shift where compassion, respect, and altruism are the solid underpinnings of every school climate, and all adults and students collectively "live" these ideals. Under these conditions, bullying simply will not exist."—Dr. Susan M. Swearer, associate professor of School Psychology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, co-editor: Bullying in American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention
"Representing a decade and a half of conscientious bully prevention research and program development, Twemlow presents an excellent overview of their Peaceful School Program intervention and impact. They illustrate myths and fallacies of bullying and explain in detail how to develop effective connections and collaboration with schools - program buy-in - that is essential for any program to have an impact. They provide an overview of understanding the process of creating school climate change and teacher engagement including approaching the problem by understanding power struggles and how the entire social climate must change to impact the problem. They explain the concept of mentalization and how important this construct is for impacting bullying, and methods to engage in indentifying, evaluating, and acting to reduce the problem of bullying in classrooms and schools. Their specific steps for establishing a game plan of clear, easy to follow, and well-studied processes guide educators through the course of action for effective change. They also describe how to discuss "undiscussables" - those touchy subjects, such as teacher or administrator bullying, that maintain the problem and have to be understood for comprehensive change to occur. Their review of measures of bullying, and the examples of surveys, are very informative and user-friendly. In short, this is a book for all people interested in reducing bullying in schools and communities.
The authors' use of clear examples from their work in schools ranging from kindergarten to high school, combined with their focus on changing the school climate through respectful and conscientious engagement with teachers, and a program carefully constructed to address the concerns of the specific school, provides the reader with an excellent understanding of the current state of bullying in schools as well as hands-on methods for engaging schools and communities to effectively address the problem. This is an excellent engagement in the bully prevention process and one that can have a very positive impact upon children, teachers, families, and communities, resulting in healthier lives and better learning. Their approach addresses the whole child - not just behaviors - in establishing an intervention that promotes learning, character, and community connections."—Arthur Horne, Ph.D., interim dean, College of Education, University of Georgia
"Preventing school violence and bullying is one of the most important priorities for educational systems in the developed countries. This book sets out interesting viewpoints, and practical steps, focussing strongly on the kinds of relationships involved in bullying behaviours. It will be useful for all concerned with taking action in this area."—Peter K Smith, PhD, head, Unit for School and Family Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K.
"Stuart Twemlow and Frank Sacco have devoted decades to understanding conscious and unconscious individual and group processes that lead to aggressive behavior and tragedy in schools. In this book they send us a clear message: It is not any one violence prevention method that is important; it is how people-students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders-implement it that matters. They suggest no quick-fix, but delve deeper, exploring how emotional attitudes and actions of persons or groups dovetail to set the stage for either tragic outbreaks or an atmosphere of safety in schools. What makes this book powerful and refreshing is the authors' outspoken discussion of issues that are usually denied. These topics range from an examination of the consequences of shame and humiliation, to the fallacy of the "zero tolerance concept," to the role of the internet in changing today's youth culture...Not only should this book be read by anyone who is concerned with school safety, it has value for anyone who wishes to understand how destructive human behavior can be inflamed or tamed."—Vamik D. Volkan, M. D., professor emeritus of psychiatry, University of Virginia and the author of Killing in the Name of Identity: Stories of Bloody Conflicts
About the Authors:
Stuart W. Twemlow, M.D is professor of psychiatry, Menninger Dept. of Psychiatry, Baylor College Medicine in Houston
Frank C. Sacco, president, Community Services Institute, Agawam & Boston (MA)