Drug Education Blog

Connectedness is key to human happiness and well-being

Posted May 07, 2012 by Nicole Bodner

School is second only to family as a key source of connectedness for a child. For a growing number of researchers and school professionals, this means everything possible should be done to keep kids connected to the school environment.

Zero-tolerance school policies, suspensions and expulsions create disconnection between young people and their school environment. They can also increase tension in relationships between young people and their parents and family members.

While suspensions and expulsions may solve a school’s immediate problems—for example, they may relieve the pressure from parents to “do something” about the “bad kids” in the school—cutting a young person off from a core set of caring people is among the most harmful things that can be done to them. This is especially true for young people without a sense of belonging to anything or anyone else in the world.

Without connectedness, people are more likely to lose their way with alcohol and other drugs and are less likely to reach their full potential. Schools and parents can help all young people stay connected by deciding to take suspensions and expulsions off the menu of options for dealing with young people who break the rules.

Abandoning measures that cause disconnection is not the same as abandoning consequences for bad behaviour. It means inviting the entire school community—students, teachers, administrators, parents, counsellors and others—to face problems that arise and work together to address them.

Taking a “we’re all in this together” approach is not always easy. It requires courage, trust and commitment to working through issues. It may require an evolution of our collective thinking to find connection-based ways to address the troubling or disruptive behaviours that tend to emerge when something is wrong in a young person’s life. But finding those ways is worth it, considering that in the long run suspension and expulsion do more harm than good to both individuals and society at large.

Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

For related resources, see: Develop Health Promoting Policies 

 

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COMMENTS

Mathews wrote:
04 Jun 2012
  I teach at an alternative ed scoohl. One of the vocational programs we have offered, in addition to shop, auto mechanics, etc., was an introductory program for students who wanted to enter a health care profession. The woman who taught the course was an RN, and the students learned ethics, medical terms, record keeping, and also visited job locations in various medical facilities.

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About this Blog

This blog is managed by the Knowledge Exchange team at CARBC. Articles are selected to support the application of comprehensive school health approach in addressing substance use in K-12 schools in British Columbia.

If you would like to submit an article for publication in this blog, please send it to helpingschools@carbc.ca.