Safety in schools is the theme of the day, especially here at Drexel. This is a story with two parts:
On our campus today, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a Campus Resilience Pilot Program that the Department of Homeland Security will coordinate for colleges to develop and share effective strategies to prepare, respond, and recover from crisis and emergency situations. Drexel is one of the seven colleges and universities across the country to participate in the pilot program.
And, as the daily theme of National Public Health Week, “Safe Schools” inspired Dr. Sandra Bloom, an associate professor in Drexel’s School of Public Health, to look beyond the obvious forms of physical protection from criminal activity and physical violence, in her blog post today.
What do these two things have in common? It’s about community.
In her blog post, Bloom points out that trauma and its psychological and social effects are an important consideration in making schools and other places safe. Making students truly safe means creating a nonviolent school culture that places a deep value on multiple categories of safety. And that culture arises from a committed community:
As anyone knows who has been a child, there are many different ways to hurt a person that usually predate the actual emergence of physical violence. Most bullying, cyber-bullying, gossiping, spreading of rumors, disrespectful and insulting attitudes or behaviors are not physically violent. But they certainly are psychologically, socially, and morally violent. I have been a part of creating safe environments for children, families and adults – including within schools – for over three decades and what we know is that every school is a community and the only solution to violence is actively create and sustain a nonviolent school culture.
In her remarks at Drexel, Secretary Napolitano echoed that idea.
“Strong, resilient communities, including academic communities such as Drexel,” Secretary Napolitano said, are among the strongest resources we have to enhance safety. Strong communities aid in prevention of crisis and emergency scenarios, and they promote resilience after those emergencies that do occur.