Use Teachable Moments to Save Young Lives

Published in: Los Angeles Times, Mar. 8, 2001

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2000

by Jaana Juvonen

Peer ridicule may seem harmless, perhaps because most victims of peer harassment suffer in silence. But a small minority retaliates, as recent news events have shown. Rather than trying to identify the individuals who are least able to cope with peer harrassment, we should focus our energies on school practices and policies that reduce such harassment in general and that provide youth with skills to deal with it when it occurs. That is, we need a more effective balance between individually focused interventions and comprehensive prevention approaches. Moreover, we need to focus on promoting psychological safety in our schools. This article describes such a program at Seeds University Elementary School at UCLA.

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