Saturday, December 22, 2012

Therapy Dogs in Every School

Boys Read opposes the NRA's proposal to put armed officers in every school.  We strongly support having therapy dogs in every school.  A School-Resource Officer (SRO) can be helpful for curbing violence in schools.  However, they are simply cost prohibitive and a reactive and defensive approach.  In 2007, the Department of Justice estimated the annual cost of employing a law-enforcement officer averaged $116,500.

Boys Read believes that schools need more counselors; especially male counselors that can identify boys that are at-risk of dropping out of school and of being incarcerated or violent to themselves or others.  Boys need men and women to connect with.  Every school needs at least one male and female counselor.  Every child must be accounted for.  Every child deserves our best effort to connect them to our society as a whole.  There is a place for each unique individual.

One best-practice that can be accomplished is to bring therapy dogs into schools.  A creative university in Canada recently had success with using therapy dogs as stress-relievers.  For the full best-practice story, click here.

Also, click here for a doggone good way to get reluctant readers to read.

In summary, as educators, we must stand up and fight for creative, proactive ways to help our kids.  If we don't speak up now, we will all be the victims of big business, political driven mandates. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings

What is your school doing to get men reading with boys?  We have to find more ways to connect with boys in their early school years and stay connected with them until they are well-established literate men.

Educators, please read this book: "Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings" (Basic Books, 2004).  It is by Katherine S. Newman.  She is the James B. Knapp Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.  Click here for Rampage.

Below are key take aways from an excellent article published on CNN:
  • Bucolic country towns are locus for most school shootings in U.S.
  • She says her research shows patterns in such shootings; they are often planned far in advance
  • She says attackers often hint at plans; they long to fit in, gain peers' attention acceptance
  • We must provide settings for children to confide in adults
"One reason shooters tip their hands is that they are trying to solve a problem. Though they are often intelligent, high-performing boys, their peers tend to see them as unattractive losers, weak and unmanly. In a school culture that values sports prowess over academic accomplishment, they face rejection. The shooters are rarely loners, but tend instead to be failed joiners, and their daily social experience is full of friction. Since they are almost always mentally or emotionally ill, those rejections -- so common in adolescence -- take on greater importance and become a fixation. Rebuffed after trying to join friendship groups, they look for ways to gain attention, to reverse their damaged."

For the full article, click here.

What is your school doing to get men reading with boys?