About SSA: Cost
Peer mistreatment has tremendous costs for students, staff, and the school as a whole.
Every day, 160,000 students stay home from school because they are afraid of how they might be treated by their peers. How many thousands - or millions - more come to school with a knot in their guts, fearful, tense, and unable to concentrate?
Student Achievement & Learning
Students can't learn in a fear-based environment. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs (at left) shows that students whose need for physical and emotional safety is unmet will be unable to focus on higher-order needs like belonging, self worth, or achievement.
Students who do not feel safe - emotionally or physically - will likely:
As Maslow's work indicates, when a student fears or experiences mistreatment by peers (name calling, being excluded, bullied, threatened with injury, etc.) his/her ability to concentrate, learn and achieve is drastically reduced. Data from the California Healthy Kids survey shows that perceived safety predicts academic performance. When students feel safer they do better on tests, even after the influence of key variables - ethnic composition of the school, average parental education, household income, and school grade - is eliminated.
Teachers' Time, Energy, and Morale
How much time and energy does your staff expend on disciplining the students in their classes for peer mistreatment? What does that take away from the other students? How much does that dampen the enthusiasm and sap the energy they would otherwise infuse into their teaching? How much does that erode morale and accelerate turnover?
Administrative Time, Energy and Morale
How many hours do your counselors and administrators spend resolving student conflicts, handing out punishment, meeting with parents, and processing paperwork for detentions, suspensions, and expulsions? How else could that time be used?
In addition to the dollar cost of the staff time noted above, preventing and responding to peer mistreatment and violence often requires hiring additional staff: campus supervisors, school resource officers, and others. How much does a school resource officer cost? How much does it cost to respond to a bomb threat?
And what if the unthinkable were to occur? What are the social costs of a shooting … or a suicide?
We can provide you with a customized Cost-Benefit Analysis.
What can be done? Read about What Works, distilled from the research.