Safety and Violence and Meaningful Student Involvement

SoundOut for Communities
SoundOut’s Adam Fletcher talking with students in Bellevue, Washington.

Safety and violence and Meaningful Student Involvement and intrinsically bound together. When students are meaningfully involved, schools are safe and violence is not present; when students are not meaningfully involved, violence is obvious and safety can be elusive in schools.

What It Is

Safety is a core need for students in schools. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an illustrative tool only, its easy to understand how safety is the second greatest level of needs in student learning. The need for security and protection is evident since our safety needs drive student behavior in schools. Research shows that much student behavior come from our natural desire for a predictable, orderly world that is somewhat within their control. Safety in a school can look like school security, classroom order, well-provisioned learning materials and aids, teacher continuity and sustainability, as well as student health and well-being.

Where Meaningful Student Involvement Fits

When students have a sense of ownership and agency over their safety in schools, they become empowered to research, plan, implement and evaluate safety and related issues. Other students advocate against violence. Working with adults as partners, some students gravitate towards restorative justice, while others focused on bullying and other issues.

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