Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash
In 2013 the Compassionate Action Network International (CAN) joined with No Bully to create a Charter for Compassionate Schools. Many other thought leaders joined in writing the Charter for Compassionate Schools, including:
- Dr. Marc Brackett, Yale University, RULER Approach: Building Emotionally Literate Schools
- Nicholas Carlisle, Executive Director of No Bully
- Brooke Dodson-Lavelle, Mind and Life Institute
- Dr. James Doty, Stanford University, Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research
- Lennon Flowers, Ashoka Empathy
- Sara Potler LaHayne, Move This World
- Marilyn Turkovich, Compassionate Action Network International
- Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., Education Director, Greater Good Science Center at the University of California-Berkeley
Cultivating compassion in schools, and creating the kind of culture where it is a norm of student and staff behavior, may seem at first a noble ideal: a nice-to-have, something to be undertaken only when all other priorities are met. Yet we now have the evidence to show that a school’s ability to foster real learning, indeed to fulfill its fundamental purpose, depends on its ability to do just that. Students and adults alike thrive when their social and emotional needs are met, when they feel a sense of belonging, when they feel their voices are welcomed and heard. Choosing to uphold the principles of compassion is central to a school’s ability to create a caring and inclusive culture and climate, to nurture a strong moral identity among those who walk through its doors, and to invite deep participation and learning. What’s more, compassionate action is foundational to effective collaboration, and to advancing the common good—attributes that, in today’s increasingly connected world—are central to success. A compassionate school begins with the adults on campus walking their talk and modeling compassion to all.
The Charter for Compassionate Schools
We—the students, teachers, staff, and parents of (named place of learning) declare our shared commitment to the following principles, and pledge to hold ourselves and one another accountable to their realization.
We recognize that every person shares a common humanity capable both of happiness and suffering. We pledge in our words and actions to treat everyone in this school community as we would wish to be treated, to help those around us who are in need, and to make amends when we cause another pain.
We recognize that we are a school with different abilities, body sizes, races, religions, classes, gender identities and sexual orientations. We pledge to step into the shoes of others and see how things look from their point of view, especially when we disagree or find ourselves in conflict.
We recognize that intolerance and hatred cause suffering and that when we stand by doing nothing, or laugh, or post comments online when others bully, we contribute to the problem. We pledge to stand up to bullying and make this a school where everyone belongs.
In signing, we commit to practice the values in this Charter within our school community; in our daily interactions, whether teacher-to-teacher, teacher-to-student, or student-to-student; and in the projects we undertake within our community and in the world.
If you are a principal, teacher or admin for a school anywhere in the world that would like your school to become a Compassionate School this is the first document to sign. You can share the Charter for Compassionate text with your entire community to encourage each member of the community to join us. We´ll send you the text with the name of your school once you fill-in the form below.