Hello, We are looking to develop a replicable program, training, philosophy, curriculum, materials, and strategy that can be used to convert districts to a;
Zero-punishment, zero consequences, zero disciplinary, zero applied-justice, zero judgment, zero retribution model of instruction.
A Punishment-free, Consequence-free, Disciplinary-action-free, applied-Justice-free, Judgement-free, and Retribution-free educational model of instruction is sought in alignment with Sanctuary principles and goals.
Although zero-punishment is implicit within the current Sanctuary model of trauma-aware programs Andrus offers, it is believed that additional emphasis and education-specific instructions are needed and that this is not currently part of the curricula provided under Andrus’s Sanctuary rubric, programs, and materials. We seek to translate the S.A.F.E. program from its origination in the health-care field into a language and methodology more specifically adapted to the education arena. Participation in an independent board to certify other programs in a “zero-punishment” Sanctuary education methodology is also sought to be discussed. A strategy to give districts “cover” to push through this zero-punishment model still is to be discussed and is critical, as is the need to have the cooperation of teacher and parent organizations plus the support of local public leadership. If pitchforks don’t come out, one is not effectively delivering and implementing the change that is sought – dealing with the pitchforks is part of a necessary healing process that cannot be obtained in any other fashion.
The intent is not to be intentionally provocative, but neither is there to be any obfuscation of the important purpose and goals of the effort which is to change the public-education culture back to its roots and foundation under its founder’s principles, Howard Mann, in the early 1800’s. Look below for an image of a clipping purportedly by his own hand of his most famous statement in regard his educational philosophy in regard punishment-free education. This is to be a part of Broward’s innovative “museum” schools, to be further described at a later time in relation to our hoped-for future joint efforts.
We’ll begin with one elementary school and a feeder pre-k and kindergarten – three schools to start. The goal is to as quickly as possible have the program in all schools in the county, the State, and then nationwide as soon as physically possible. One in three children in Broward, and nationwide, are abused and neglected – at an absolute minimum. Under Federal ESSA law, districts and schools must provide specialized instruction for children requiring it to succeed in school. A child that has a high A.C.E. score and that has experienced abuse or neglect requires trauma-sensitive instruction. Simple examples of what this entails are the dictum to be sensitive to provide choices wherever possible as compared to presenting things in a yes/no manner and avoiding emotionally charged trigger situations and material presentations. It is critical that it be understood, additionally, that this is to be undertaken quite literally as if children’s very lives depended on it, which they do in actuality – this is not hyperbole, it is factual, sadly, for our districts and all others nationally.
The school district of Broward County, SDBC, has approximately 250 schools and 250,000 students and is the 6th largest in the nation, with there being about 50,000 districts nationwide. At one time, very recently, we had the dubious distinction of having the highest number of children removed from classrooms per-capita in the country, and in the more distant past our county had the highest per-capita number of lynchings in the nation and resulting in a heavy burden of historical trauma regionally. I provide these details to emphasize that Florida is about as far and “deep-south” as one can physically and psychologically get. We have a highly progressive superintendent, teachers union, and district staff, plus, importantly, equally progressive local city and county government, child care services, police and health provider organizations.
I inquired previously (with Mrs. Manley and Nina) as to the Sanctuary program for our district, along the lines of what you have provided to the Strawberry Mansion district in PA.
In order to get any program into any school district in the nation, regardless of whether progressive, conservative or regressive – it must be “sold” to them in the logical, emotional, cultural and economic senses, each – in other words, it must be “commoditized.”
This is what has happened to these programs historically, from PBIS to SEL, to Sanctuary – all three. It has happened largely unconsciously for both deep trauma-organized thinking related reasons founded in evolutionary psychology and for pragmatic reasons related to simple reward psychology – this has all happened without any hidden agenda, nor even an explicit agenda on the part of anyone. All do the best we can. We all seem to suffer this same ed-related cultural cognitive dissonance in varying degrees.
Having teachers, parents, politicians, and the populace at-large take up pitchforks to come after one as the result of a progressive educational philosophy, such as is that of “zero-punishment,” is not conducive to “selling” one’s program. In all such programs, going back a very long time, for this reason, the “meat” of allied progressive efforts to follow a Quaker-ish philosophy of non-violence in the education arena has heretofore been removed as a focus and emphasis so as to be implicit at best and not explicit in order to make the programs saleable to schools, parents, teachers, politicians, and the public. The program we propose will thus NOT be “commoditized” in this fashion, intentionally.
What is sought is to create a truly “trauma-aware,” “trauma-informed,” “golden rule,” “zero punishment” school where;
An error is an opportunity to learn and to teach, not punish, judge, discipline, inflict a consequence, apply justice or require retribution.
Importantly; the word “error” encompasses what is colloquially termed “bad” behavior.
This long first sentence is not to be taken lightly for it is crafted as one might a key with each word an etched sentence section needed to move various expectational rationalizing neutralizing aspects of one’s mind matched to it like the cylinders in a lock.
Some Ed History and Background: I say this, this many words because it seems an extreme level of specificity is required or one risks severe corruption of the intended message to be either ineffective or even quite counterproductive in an oppositional way. As evidence of this one need merely look at the successive organizations in this education sphere in successive decades beginning with the founding of PBIS. Incredibly, somehow “positive behavioral intervention and support,” aka; PBIS, was inexplicably instrumental in implementing “zero tolerance” policies across the U.S. and evolved to become completely commoditized to provide “consequence” punishment matrices as part of its monitoring and tracking services to provide districts with a useful tool marketed by PBIS for district self-monitoring using PBIS accountability metrics and statistics produced by comparison with other PBIS districts nationwide in all fifty states.
A Golden Rule School employs Zero Punishment.
In a Zero Punishment school, an Error is seen as an Opportunity to Learn and to Teach,
NOT an opportunity to Punish, Judge, Discipline, inflict a Consequence of any type, apply Justice or require Retribution.
A corollary of the zero-punishment philosophy is that;
To train and to use dogs, horses, or Children for War is Wrong and Immoral.
Onward to an ever brighter future, thanks to our children,