The All-Abilities Alliance
Polls show that nearly 50% of children in grades 4-12 report being bullied at school. Students with disabilities report bullying at a rate of approximately 70%.
In 2014, with support from the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Partnership created and launched a school-based approach to improve school climate and ensure that all young people feel safe and connected to a positive adult at school.
Key stakeholders in the school participate in training that helps them to identify bias related to disability, clarify legal obligations to students with disabilities, and support teachers and parents to address bullying and /or harassment and other elements. In addition, staff of The Governor's Prevention Partnership guide the creation of student-led All-Abilities Alliance Groups that focus on inclusion and support for all students.
The goal of the initiative is to increase the capacity of school leaders to implement elements of effective bullying prevention practice, focusing on meeting state and federal standards with school rules and policies, and using data analysis to track bullying trends. In addition, school leaders are encouraged to:
- Establish a school climate/bullying prevention task force
- Increase the capacity of school staff to identify and address bullying
- Infuse anti-bullying messages into curriculum and school culture
The Governor's Prevention Partnership is focused on establishing long-term outcomes of this model by improving data collection on elements of school climate for students with disabilities as measured by the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory. Expected outcomes for schools participating in this initiative are:
- Respect for diversity demonstrated by staff and students
- Effective safety rules and norms guide behavior
- Opportunities for student social and civic learning
- Increase in student connectedness/engagement
- Improved physical surroundings that support positive school climate
The All-Abilities Handbook is designed to bring students with and without disabilities together to raise awareness. This resource aids in improving school climate overall and creating an inclusive daily environment where all kids can thrive and grow.