Book Teaches Leaders Principles for Curbing School Violence

Two St. Lawrence University Department of Education faculty have recently co-authored a book that is meant to teach school leaders how to deal with school violence before it begins.

Kyle Blanchfield '78, adjunct assistant professor of education in the Graduate Leadership Program, and Peter Ladd, associate professor of education for the Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Counseling program, co-authored the book titled "Leadership, Violence and School Climate: Case Studies in Creating Non-Violent Schools."

Blanchfield said the book is both timely and relevant, as communities seek to train school leaders, such as principals and guidance counselors, who can prevent school violence before it ever happens.

"Especially after the tragedy in Sandy Hook, most law enforcement and school personnel are well versed in emergency drills and lockdowns," she said, referring to the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six school employees dead in December 2012. "But what we truly need to create is positive, peaceful environments so these tragedies don't have a chance to begin. And that starts with leadership."

Published in July by R&L Education, "Leadership, Violence and School Climate" emphasizes three important themes, namely democratic leadership, violence and school climate. The book recognizes that safety should be the first issue of concern when addressing school violence, and it emphasizes that a reduction in school violence originates from school leaders. Through democratic school leadership, violence can be reduced by those professionals actually working in schools, Blanchfield said.

"Democratic principles are basically core values we can all relate to," she said, "such as generosity, humor, fairness and trust. This should be used as a textbook to teach those going into leadership positions to learn how to deal with issues such as bullying and de-escalating violence before it begins."

In the book, Blanchfield and Ladd point out how schools can reverse their reactionary stance to violence and can become pro-active through the practice of those same democratic principles.

According to Blanchfield, there are 12 Educational Leadership graduates currently working in St. Lawrence County schools in leadership positions. The book, she said, is the first published by St. Lawrence's Educational Leadership Program.

In addition to teaching at St. Lawrence, Blanchfield is also the President and CEO of the Northern New York Centers for Conflict Resolution, which covers the northern region of New York State.

Ladd coordinates the Certificate of Advanced Studies Program in Counseling and works at the University's satellite graduate school program on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation.

Blanchfield to be Keynote at Education Conference

Kyle Blanchfield '78, adjunct assistant professor of education in the Graduate Leadership Program, will serve as the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Northeast Character Conference to be held in October at The Sage Colleges in Troy, N.Y.