To build a school culture full of positive, supportive peer relationships, it is critical that students are the forefront and families, students, educators, administrators and community members work collaboratively.

Positivity and respect

During its 2013 Youth Leadership Summit, National PTA brought together more than 50 high school students from across the country to brainstorm tactics to prevent bullying in their schools. From their insights came Connect for Respect, which integrates student leaders into school climate improvement and empowers students, families, educators and community members to work collaboratively to encourage positive peer relationships and foster an environment of mutual respect.  

The Connect for Respect approach is simple:

  • Build a team. Invite students, school staff, community members and families to work together in improving the school climate.

  • Assess the school climate from the perspective of students, families and school personnel.

  • Engage the school community at Connect for Respect forums, during which students, families, school staff and community members come together to share their concerns and brainstorm solutions.

  • Develop an action plan to educate and empower families, students and the broader community around bullying prevention and safe-school environments.

  • Empower students, families and the community to implement strategies that reflect the community’s unique strengths, needs and existing school climate efforts.

In addition to building positive school climates to address and reduce bullying, National PTA and PTAs nationwide are also committed to building positive habits and supportive peer relationships online.

Staying safe on social

Technology is everywhere, and with kids getting more tech-savvy than ever and new gadgets, platforms and apps being released every day, encouraging safe, positive use of the internet, social media and mobile devices is very important.

The ways people act and treat others online should not be different from what they do offline and digital safety and responsibility should be a regular and ongoing part of family conversations. Through its #ShareAwesome initiative, National PTA and PTAs across the country are engaging students, families, educators and communities to build good digital habits and foster positive use of technology.

Building a culture of kindness and respect—online and off—is critical to foster positive, supportive peer relationships and prevent and eliminate bullying.