With National Bullying Prevention Month in October, it is vitally important to address the question: how do we create safe and nurturing environments in order to prevent violence? U.S. schools across the country are reacting to protect students as school shootings and attacks proliferate.
Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation has moved the issue to the forefront thanks to the implementation of Creating Compassionate Communities (CCC) program, which is founded and directed by Jessie Klein, associate professor in sociology and criminal justice at Adelphi University. CCC includes a group of education professionals dedicated to helping schools and other communities create more empathy and caring relationships, decrease hurtful behaviors and eradicate bullying to support healthy school communities.
Dr. Klein is a nationally recognized expert and also frequent speaker on bullying, cyberbullying, gender issues, gang violence, school shootings and policy responses. She is the author of The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools. Her research regarding gender and school violence has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and she is often interviewed by media including CNN, The Brian Lehrer Show, Good Day New York, Newsday, USA Today and New York Times.
Through the Creating Compassionate Communities program, teachers, students and parents will have the resources and tools to build strong social bonds by increasing empathy within their schools. CCC works to combat the adverse effects of social pressures on young people and reach students with warmth and compassion.
Harvest Collegiate High School for ninth through twelfth grade (October 21 at 3:30 p.m.) and Central Park East II for Pre-K through eighth grade (October 23 at 11:30 a.m.) will be the first locations to be introduced to the monthly trainings led by CCC. The elaborate and rigorous program will formally begin in January 2016, which includes monthly empathy building trainings for teachers; weekly empathy games for students; and an every other week caregiver empathy skills training group for those family members who want to create more empathy at home. Schools that commit to the curriculum will be awarded Creating Compassionate Communities banners to celebrate their dedication to the need for greater empathy and compassion.
“We seek to change the conversation from reducing bullying or character education to one where students and faculty care about one another such that bullying becomes nonexistent,” said Jessie Klein, Adelphi University associate professor in sociology and criminal justice. “Creating Compassionate Communities will mobilize educators, students, parents, law enforcement, social workers, criminal justice professionals, businesspeople, nurses and others to engage in a movement to build supportive relationships and eliminate violence in our communities. Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation aims to turn this into a signature program and eventually a national model.”
The members of the CCC team include a diverse set of professionals:
-Founder and Director, Jessie Klein, associate professor in sociology and criminal justice, Adelphi University
-Kindness Associate/Advisor, Fretta Reitzes, director, 92Y’s Goldman Center for Youth & Family; co-author, Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Centered Classrooms for the 21ST Century Classrooms, Teachers College Press (2015); Wonderplay and Wonderplay Too! Perseus Press (1995, 2005)
-Empathy-building Facilitator, Anthony Torres, NYPD Counterterrorism Officer
-Empathy Art Director, Russ Lancaster, creator of empathy card decks and other empathy game materials
-Other members of the team will be introduced to the schools as the program develops.
If you have any questions or you want to be more directly involved in the CCC program, please contact Jessie Klein at email@example.com or ccc@