Alison Perencevich, Program Director, Grantmakers In Health
Concerns about school violence have heightened awareness of how schools maintain a safe and productive learning environment. Public discourse surrounding school safety has largely focused on security; yet school discipline policies have short- and long-term consequences for students and the school community.
School climate is not only important to students’ academic achievement, but also to their healthy social and emotional development. Adolescence is a critical period of physical, emotional, and social growth; it is also a crucial time to recognize and address behavioral health needs. Although one-half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, many youth have undiagnosed or untreated mental health and substance use disorders (Kessler et al. 2005). Behavioral health issues may contribute to disruptive behavior but can also result or worsen from harsh disciplinary action.