Violence in schools can have serious long-term consequences on children’s lives, their futures, and the future of the communities where they live.
For far too many students around the world, violence has become an everyday lesson, but together we can change the situation.
If you are a student, parent or teacher, you can take action to create safe environments where children and young people can live and learn without fear.
- Be kind. Strike up a conversation with a shy classmate or quiet coworker. Leave a kind note for someone who needs it. Even something small can improve someone’s day – especially if they are going through something difficult.
- Speak out. If you are worried about your or a friend’s safety, urgently speak to someone you trust – this could be a parent, teacher, close friend, older sibling, or a child helpline, which are often anonymous. See our tips for reporting violence.
- Get creative. Create your School Superhero comic to help you and your friend and fellow students feel safe to learn.
- Deepen your knowledge and take action. Use the Safe to Learn activity pack to know more about the issue of violence against children and young people and create your own projects for change:
> Develop a safety charter in your school, or make a ‘paperchain of promises’ to promote safety
> Do a school safety walk and a student-led action plan
> Create a community map and action plan
> Campaign to make schools safer in your country.
Parents have a crucial role to play in preventing and addressing violence in schools. The below pages offer ideas and tips on how to talk to your children, your child’s school and decision-makers about bullying and cyberbullying.
- Help create a safe school. School policies, curricula and action plans can proactively create a culture of kindness and inclusion. Use our extensive guide on school-based violence prevention to find out what measures your school can take.
- Lead by example. Use positive discipline techniques to manage your classroom.
- Deepen your students’ understanding of violence against children. And enable them to take action in and around their schools and communities, nationally and globally with UNICEF’s Safe To Learn activity pack.
- Prepare yourself. Review how to teach sensitive topics and what actions to take if a child discloses violence using the Teachers’ Guide (see page 18).
- Promote discussion. Use creativity and multimedia to initiate discussion and provide space for children to develop their own ideas to address violence against children:
> Organize a School Superhero Comic Contest workshop with your students to promote safe school environments.
> Use these UNICEF videos about ‘growing up online’ to engage students in discussions about online safety.
- Nurture attitudes that reject violence and promote non-violent conflict resolution. With help from students, set norms for behaviour in your classroom. Learn and teach conflict resolution and anger management skills. Help your students practice applying them in everyday life.
- Raise awareness. Make sure that children are aware of the school’s policies and that they know what to do if they experience violence. Share details of telephone hotlines or social protection centres if these are available.
- Involve parents. Regularly invite parents to talk with you about their children's progress and any concerns they have. Send home notes celebrating children's achievements.