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Four Lessons Learned from Implementing a Social and Emotional Learning Program to Enhance School Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages

This Research Brief advises school and district leaders on the steps involved in launching a districtwide social and emotional learning  program intended to prevent and address bullying, harassment, and other types of emotional and physical abuse among students K-12.



Recent U.S. Department of Education statistics show that in the 2017- 2018 school year, at least 1.3 million students ages 12 to 18 were victimized by threats, theft, name-calling, exclusion, shoving, and other forms of hostility. Most of these victimizations occurred either in school, on school property, or on the way to school. Launching a districtwide social and emotional learning program requires effort, time, resources, and commitment. Success is more likely when leaders 1) make sure the time is right and connect the program to district and school priorities; 2) secure stakeholder and implementers’ buy-in before implementation; 3) conduct a careful program selection process  and take full advantage of implementation supports; and 4) choose the right tools to measure results. There are many available programs and tool sets that schools can use to help improve interpersonal relationships, create a positive school climate, and build safe conditions. One such program is Tools for Life: Relationship-Building Solutions, a classroom-and home-based program for children ages 3 through 5.

Date Published: January 1, 2020