I’m pretty lucky.
I get to spend a large amount of my time hanging out in schools where people care really deeply about building inclusive environments where everyone feels safe. Just this week I got to spend a day learning from some committed educators at the high school I graduated from, educators who are going above and beyond to serve traditionally marginalized students.
Most of the time when I’m working with a school, though, there is a laundry list of problems laid out by students, staff, parents, and administrators: cyberbullying, teachers feeling bullied by administration, students feeling bullied by teachers, students treating other students like crap, students feeling like no one cares for them in the building, etc.
Even if it’s a minority of voices, I can always find people to talk about the trials, the challenges, and the difficult stuff that the community is facing.
Thus, when I was asked to work with Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, I was pretty sure what I would encounter. What I wasn’t sure about was how Columbine’s history would impact how inclusive it is today. I had all sorts of preconceived notions about the community based in the media frenzy surrounding the community since the shootings there in 1999, but what would the community actually be like?
No matter what my expectations may have been, what I found was not at all what I expected…
Columbine is proof that when people dedicate themselves to inclusion and building safe educational environments, individuals can have a powerful impact.
In the case of Columbine, this spirit of inclusion grew out of tragedy, but it doesn’t have to be that way for your community. Need tools for building an inclusive school culture and climate? Look no further than CivilSchools.