Freire Charter School is a peaceful community. Our highest priority is making sure that students feel safe and engaged in our classrooms and throughout our building, and that each of us has the tools and skills we need to resolve conflict peacefully. We work together as a community to create a peaceful environment in which every student can focus on themselves and their education and feel safe to take the emotional and personal risks necessary for learning. We view conflict as an opportunity for learning, growth, and positive change.
In practice, this means supporting students in accessing internal peace through counselling services and other individual supports, as well as teaching strategies for recognizing and resolving interpersonal conflicts. Every member of the Freire community has access to cost-free individual and family counseling services, group therapy, and school-based social workers. Trained student mediators work with their peers to help resolve budding conflicts, and help students work together to create long-term solutions.
History of Peace at Freire
Nonviolence has come to be a way of life inside Freire Charter School, driven in large part by the students themselves. In 1999, when our first school opened, students entered Freire’s space each telling stories of horror, fear, and attack from fellow students and teachers alike at their previous schools. What these students talked about was raw and emotionally felt, and each and every one of them hoped that Freire would be a place where students and teachers felt safe and secure to do the learning they knew colleges would demand of them later in their education. During that first year, the Freire students worked weekly with the school leadership, striving to build the core elements of what Freire would one day later become. Nonviolence was by far the students’ first priority, followed by high quality academics. At the end of that school year, Freire students and school leadership had written and ratified Freire’s Nonviolence Policy, which is still in effect today. Now, years later, students, staff, and parents count on the Nonviolence Policy to keep everyone safe and to bind the Freire community together in trust and mutual respect for each other’s safety, one and all.
This nonviolent and safe atmosphere is critical to high academic achievement. Students cannot learn in an environment where they do not sense physical safety. We are not a school with high academic achievement and a nonviolence policy; we are a school with high academic achievement because we have a nonviolence policy. You cannot have one without the other.
Because the Freire Nonviolence Policy is unique and because Freire is an educational institution committed to supporting the growth and success of every one in the community, Freire Charter School has created a comprehensive set of supports and structures for students as they enter the Freire culture.
These supports are as follows:
- Peer Mediation
- Anger Management
- Individual Counseling
- Family Counseling
- Training in Effective Communication
- Supports from the Dean’s Office
- School-Wide Events to Promote Nonviolence
- Teacher Training
Preamble to Freire Student Constitution:
We the students of Freire Charter School recognize that each and every one of us deserves to be treated with care and support. Each of us is entitled to a learning environment where safety, freedom, trust, and respect are displayed at all times. We know that within this student body, there are many ages, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, needs, origins, religions, creeds, shapes, and sizes. But we are all united by our desire to learn. Together, we will work to make sure our school is safe and that we are always learning. We will think before we act in order to make smarter decisions for ourselves and our school. We will give and ask for help as needed. We will challenge ourselves and each other to meet the highest expectations. We will celebrate the successes each of us has along the way to achieving our goals. We know that each individual victory is a victory for us all.
We are the students of Freire Charter School.