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Not a school day goes by without some student facing teasing or slurs in the hallways, classrooms, or playgrounds. Left unchecked, such harassment can escalate and create an oppressive school climate where stress and fear overpower learning.
In The Respectful School, Stephen L. Wessler vividly describes how words can hurtboth emotionally and physicallyand how words can heal. Drawing on his experience as a state prosecutor overseeing hate crime enforcement and as director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, Wessler discusses what educators can do to create a truly respectful environment that promotes positive interactions among staff and students. He relates the experiences of young victims and the hopeful stories of programs that have reduced harassment, showing how educators can both protect and enlighten students through coordinated efforts such as:
Throughout the book, Wessler urges us to remember that we need to nurture the courage and compassion of young people to create supportive learning communities. Only then can students and educators join in speaking out for a respectful school, where tolerance and civility overcome the language of hate.