Principals Keeping Students
Safe and Healthy
A National Dialogue on Mental Health
NAESP knows that a principal’s first responsibility is to foster an orderly, warm, and inviting environment where students come to school confident, ready, and eager to learn. Principals will often rely on community-school partnerships to create and sustain a safe and healthy environment, keep schools safe, and prevent gun or related violence. As a nation, we do not do enough to provide schools with the necessary resources to sustain evidence-based programs designed to positively impact school violence, positive behavior supports, and common mental health issues.
NAESP applauds President Obama’s plan, which we believe begins to address these critical issues. To further the goals outlined in the proposal, NAESP is partnering with the White House and joining colleagues from the school and mental health communities to be a part of a national conversation to raise awareness of mental health issues that impact our children and youth.
We invite all elementary and middle-level principals to be a part of the conversation by engaging teachers, students, parents, and every member of the school community in meaningful conversations. Encouraging every member of your school community to come together to raise mental health awareness and ensure that student well-being is a top priority. Here are a few examples of how you can contribute to this campaign:
- Create a schoolwide motto that reinforces a positive school culture and attitudes about mental health.
- Hold a school assembly to raise awareness of mental health issues and reinforce tolerance, acceptance, diversity and strong character.
- Make a daily announcement in your school that highlights the behaviors, actions, and attitudes that students must know and learn to be tolerant of others, and promote a positive culture of safety and well-being.
- Hold a joint presentation for parents and the community featuring your school’s psychologist, behavioral health, or other specialist that discusses the importance of mental health or social, emotional, and physical development. If you don’t have access to a school-based mental health professional, invite a local provider or coordinate with the district.
- Lead a pledge drive by asking every teacher, student, and member of your school’s learning community to sign a pledge to contribute to a respectful culture, devoid of bullying and harassment. Line your school’s hallways with the signatures and the pledge.
- Hold “informational sessions” or town-hall style events with parents and community stakeholders to discuss the importance of mental health, well-being, and social and emotional development.
- Host a joint event with a local community service provider to draw attention to the school-community partnership and services available for children and youth.
Going forward, NAESP will be providing principals with resources to share your commitment. Please let us know how you will take part in the National Dialogue on Mental Health and how you plan to involve your school and learning community using the form below. Whether it is a pledge drive, a harassment prevention program, or mental health awareness initiative to keep a positive culture or an effort to combat negative attitudes and beliefs, NAESP is collecting your stories on naesp.org. We will feature your commitment to help every child succeed in school and in life.