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Students who do not feel safe and welcome at school cannot learn to the best of their potential.  However, in too many cases, students at school perceive threats to their physical and/or emotional safety, such as through bullying and mistreatment.

The Safe and Welcoming Schools project aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of practices that contribute to positive school climate through outreach, engagement, and research.  The initiative builds on the substantial expertise of COE faculty in adolescent development, school climate, school engagement, and bullying prevention, including Dean Emeritus Andy Horne.  Initially emerging from years of addressing youth violence, bullying, and mistreatment—including participation in one of the largest CDC-funded youth violence prevention programs to date—our focus has broadened to encompass promoting positive school climate and pro-social youth development.

Examples of Safe and Welcoming Schools initiatives include:

  • Coordination of an annual Safe and Welcoming Schools conference
  • Collaboration with schools and community members to prevent bullying and mistreatment and foster positive school climate, such as:
    • Providing continuing education to raise awareness of bullying and how to prevent it
    • Partnering in the adoption of evidence-based practices related to improving school climate
    • Providing technical assistance, such as support with measuring the extent of bullying in schools and the community


Our third annual Safe and Welcoming Schools conference took place on February 28, 2014, in Athens. Visit our Annual Conference page for more information.