Violence Prevention

A position paper of the Association for Middle Level Education

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The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) strongly supports efforts to prevent future acts of violence in our nation’s public schools. As an organization we especially know first-hand what is needed to ensure the social and emotional health of our students. We have a lifetime commitment to schools that are inclusive, developmentally responsive, and geared to meet the social-emotional and academic needs of students. We strongly support efforts that include an investment in more robust mental health programs and increased number of school counselors, and development of strong partnerships with the community based on open lines of communication.

This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents (p. 37) identifies comprehensive guidance and support services to meet the needs of adolescents:

School Administrators

  • Provide specialized professionals to assist students in negotiating their lives both in and out of school
  • Establish a team community (counselors, special needs teachers, school psychologists, social workers, school nurses, and community liaisons) to work together with classroom teachers addressing learning difficulties, social adjustments, family issues, and health problems
  • Conduct consistent communication and interaction among specialists and classroom teachers to assure student behaviors and learning needs are accurately assessed and met
  • Include all staff with an awareness of appropriate referral services and procedures when recommending students for specialized services
  • Identify risks and promote protective conditions through a home-school-community partnership

School Counselors

  • Support teachers in advisory programs
  • Provide one-on-one and small-group guidance sessions
  • Sponsor peer mediation and peer tutoring programs
  • Share their expertise with classroom teachers assisting with parents
  • Coordinate support services to ensure the most effective use of specialists, i.e., school psychologists, social workers, and speech therapists
  • Articulate district services across all building levels
  • Coordinate community-based services for the well-being of students
  • Spend their day working with students and faculty, rather than administrative tasks
  • Identify interpersonal conflicts between students and assist all parties in resolving conflicts, learning tolerance, and obtaining additional interventions
  • Establish a sense of belonging and connectedness for students within the family-friend-school-home-community network
  • Identify a support system for students when bullied, depressed, and anxious by creating a safe environment for disclosure and establishing district rules for retribution
  • Sensitizing students to the harmful effects of violence, aggressive behaviors, and risk-taking


  • Lead a developmentally responsive middle grades classroom
  • Maintain a classroom environment in which peaceful and safe interactions are expected
  • Demonstrate respectful interactions with fellow staff, administrators, and students
  • Help students practice skills such as direct feedback, mediation, healthy and appropriate confrontation, problem solving, positive risk taking, and collaborative goal setting
  • Regularly meet with students during the school day
  • Know the students they teach
  • Address the learning needs of all students
  • Institute advisory programs that help students develop respect for self and others
  • Be aware of appropriate referral services and procedures when recommending students for specialized services
  • Participate in a team approach to emphasize health, wellness, and safety throughout the entire school
  • Advocate for young adolescents
  • Provide an attitude of caring that translates into action


  • Understand the relationship between middle grades course options and high school programs
  • Actively engage in multidimensional transition programs for students entering and exiting the middle level school
  • Identify the needs of every student and communicate an assistance plan
  • Identify interpersonal conflicts between students wherein one of the students is unable to tolerate or resolve the conflicts; report these to school officials and other responsible authorities
  • Establish a sense of belonging and connectedness for students within the family-friend-school-home-community network
  • Engage in healthy conversations with students regarding violence in the media, aggressive behaviors, and risk-taking

Adopted February 2013
Revised April 2018