Focusing on students' emotional stress--particularly after the COVID pandemic--will be paramount to establishing safe learning environments this fall

Are schools really safe?


Focusing on students' emotional stress--particularly after the COVID pandemic--will be paramount to establishing safe learning environments this fall

When we think about school safety our first instinct is physical safety. Sadly, it’s a real concern with the all-too-regular gun shootings and bullying that occurs. However, there’s a far more common and pervasive issue occurring: emotional safety.

Since the industrial revolution, school has been primarily taught in an authoritarian style where kids are judged constantly and relentlessly from academics to behaviors. In addition, teachers and peers use shame and degradation to show their “higher” value or status, which causes additional emotional trauma.

We might think it’ll “toughen kids up,” but given the levels of [emotional] stress kids experience every day, it’s doing far more harm than good. Not to mention, emotional stress changes brain chemistry–especially when you experience this type of regular cortisol release. Kids aren’t spontaneously “going crazy” and “mentally ill” with depression and anxiety; they’re simply trying to survive in their environment.

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