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ERIC Number: EJ725761
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep-22
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
Schools as Sanctuaries
Stanwood, H. Mark; Doolittle, Gini
Reclaiming Children and Youth: The Journal of Strength-based Interventions, v13 n3 p169 Fall 2004
The concept of sanctuary developed by psychiatrist Sandra Bloom is applied to building safe school cultures. In April 1999, when a group of superintendents in southern New Jersey first assembled to discuss the ramifications of Columbine, the authors had no vision of safe schools, little understanding of the complexities of change, and certainly no design to create community in our schools. Through months of dialogue and reflection, forged by the power of moral purpose, an image of safe schools emerged. At the outset, it was clear that no single system held the magic bullet to solving this problem. Therefore, they engaged four different systems to help them begin the change process: (1) law enforcement; (2) mental health; (3) superintendents; and (4) students. As a joint task force of disparate systems serving children, they talked about their shared experiences where these disaffected youth were not responsive to traditional prevention strategies, and how schools may contribute to the problem. Gall Furman (1994) suggests additional factors alienating schools from community, including bureaucratic structures and centralized governance. Their group recognized increased academic standards, rigorous high stakes assessment processes, and heightened demand for teacher and administrator accountability as issues exacerbating the problem. Their conversations eventually led to the discovery of a concept of safe schools called Sanctuary (Bloom, 1995) developed by psychiatrist Sandra Bloom. Bloom's concepts, at least as they understood them at this point, went beyond technical and rational responses to a complex problem. Instead, her work was rooted in systems thinking and second-order change.
Crisis Prevention Institute. Circulation Department, 3315 North 124th Street Suite H, Brookfield, WI 53005. Tel: 800-285-7910; Fax: 262-783-2360; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A