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In the media: Making our students and schools safer

Education Matters

Evidence demonstrates that the same positive social-emotional supports that work well within families are also effective in building school environments that help children, says Dorothy Espelage in the latest broadcast of “Education Matters.”

Espelage, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education, was a guest on the public affairs television program, which is sponsored by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. The latest episode aired the weekend of Jan. 18-19 on WRAL and UNC-TV.

In the program, Espelage was interviewed by Tom Williams, chairman of the Public School Forum.

Espelage talked about what research has revealed about bullying and its serious consequences. Espelage said research has illuminated effective strategies that can be taught to school staff and to students to help them identify and reduce bullying behaviors.

Espelage said effective programs still will not eliminate all bullying, but could significantly reduce it.

“What does that look like? That looks like really strong relationships, open communication and trust among the peers, but also open communication between the students and the teachers,” she said. “Many of us who do this work and have done it really believe that eradicating or minimizing bullying comes down to promoting positive relationships.

“So, much of the work we are doing around school safety, whether it’s bullying or other forms of violence in the school setting is to promote that positive relationship.

The program also included conversation with an assistant principal and a student from Knightdale High School who talked about a program there called “Link Crew” that enables juniors and seniors to support incoming first-year students and create a school climate that deters bullying behaviors.