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The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

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Happy Friday, Rules readers. Here at Rules HQ, we've been debating whether traffic in DC will be more intense once Malia Obama gets her driver's license, quietly refreshing the score of the Olympic hockey game between the United States and Canada, and pondering whether one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use will also raise its tobacco age from 18 to 21.

This week, we see how restorative justice works in one high school, read about the perennial issue of controversial mascots, and learn that the mean jokes in NFL locker rooms may resemble the bullying students deal with in school.

If you're interested in alternatives to suspension:

"That, to some people, may be viewed as a soft discipline, especially if you look at the Western culture. You know, we're about war and violence. We're not about peace and harmony. But, however, for those girls to come together, and for their families to come together, and talk about it, and to reallyyou know, to express truly, what happened, how did it affect me and others, what am I responsible for, and how do I solve it, that's that's deeper than just writing up paperwork and one person goes their way and the other person goes their way, and nothing was ever communicated."
—The PBS Newshour reports on the use of restorative justice in a Colorado high school.

If you're interested in diversity:

"In an area where less than 1 percent of the population in 2000 was of Arab origin, according to a Stanford report, streets have names like Bagdad and Arabia, and there are towns called Mecca and Oasis."
—The New York Times visits a high school in California that has come under fire for its mascot, "the Arab," which is depicted as a "sneering, crooked-nosed figure."

If you're interested in bullying:

"Empathy doesn't just mean understanding someone else's feelings. It means valuing them. Otherwise, understanding twists into manipulation."
—Slate's Emily Bazelon, the author of a book on bullying, calls the NFL's investigation of the Miami Dolphins "the best report on bullying I've ever read."

If you're interested in student engagement:

"Personally, I think that students don't really like to be treated as 'students.' Teachers can learn from us students. They need to ask for our input on how the students feel about a project, a test, etc. Most importantly, teachers need to ask themselves, "How would I feel if I were this student?" See from our point of view and embrace it."
—Students tell their middle school teacher, a blogger at Edutopia, what engages them in the classroom.

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