Creating Sanctuary in Schools

The Foundation of the Peace Center Philosophy


Creating and maintaining safety for children is a process – a never-ending journey. Everyone who is affected by the school environment is also responsible for the creation and maintenance of school safety. Safety is multi-faceted, comprehensive and requires the following:


  • Physical Safety
    When children come to school, they need to know they will be physically safe. Schools must be free of weapons and fighting. Creating physical safety necessitates whatever measures it takes to absolutely prohibit violence. This includes the creation of safety zones around schools, increased security, higher police visibility, community guardians, and strict enforcement of the rules. It also includes a prohibition against the use of corporal punishment. Using violence in any form against children carries the message that violence is a way to solve problems and contradicts the prevention of violence. The prevention of bullying is a critical component.
  • Psychological Safety
    A psychologically safe environment provides students with the opportunity to establish trusting relationships with adults and other students. Such an environment fosters healthy emotional attachment. Harassment, malicious teasing, put-downs, name-calling and bullying and cyberbullying have no place here.
  • Social Safety
    Social safety refers to the creation and maintenance of an environment that provides the social support and structure within which all members of the system feel safe, nurtured, and respected. Diversity is understood and celebrated. Racism, oppression, sexism and injustices have no place here. Peaceful conflict resolution is the preferred method of solving problems. Interventions would include processes such as Peace Circles or Restorative Justice Practices.
  • Moral Safety
    Moral safety exists in an environment which is relatively free from hypocrisy and which clearly articulates a system of values that everyone in the system is expected to uphold. Rules need to be clear and the same for all. Adults must “walk their talk” and serve as good role models for children and refrain from acting like a bully themselves.


Adapted from Dr. Sandra Bloom’s ‘Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies’