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Behind the Curtain

A Message From NDEO About School Violence
By Susan McGreevy-Nichols
Posted on 3/6/2018 3:19 PM

The National Dance Education Organization continues to grieve with the nation in the aftermath of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the shooting at Central Michigan State University. Our hearts are with the victims of these horrendous incidents, and all affected by school violence nationwide. We stand with our members who work in K-12 schools and universities and their students, who are faced with the potential for violence daily. Yet we remain inspired by the action and activism of the Stoneman Douglas students and all who are working to honor the victims and ensure that such a grievous act never again occurs in America’s schools. We are especially moved by the dance community’s tributes to the memory of dance students who were among the Parkland victims, including
Cara Loughran and Jaime Guttenberg, both 14 years old.

NDEO stands in solidarity with those working against school violence of any kind, and believes that dance can play an integral role in the effort to create safer, more peaceful school communities. We believe in the power of the arts, especially dance, to improve school culture and to enhance student well being. According to NDEO’s 2013 study Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K-12 Setting, research suggests that incorporating dance into the curriculum can:

  • Enhance emotional well-being by fostering self-expression and helping students to feel validated and accepted

  • Help students develop and practice empathy

  • Aid in the development of collaborative skills and encourage positive relationships between students

  • Be used to promote conflict resolution

  • Promote inclusion, especially for immigrant students, English-language learners, and special education students

  • Improve attendance rate and student mobility, and lower suspension and drop-out rates

  • Encourage the development of higher order thinking skills

  • Improve student academic performance when integrated with other disciplines

  • Create a positive school culture by improving teacher morale, increasing social support for learning, high expectations, challenging work, and student success

We encourage all of our members and followers to unite with us as we work to promote inclusive, positive, and peaceful school communities where all feel welcome, engaged, and fulfilled. We support you in taking the meaningful action you feel is most appropriate to oppose violence in schools and stand up for the rights of students to enjoy a safe, productive environment. Most importantly, we invite you to join with us to ensure access to a quality dance education for all students, so that all may benefit from the transformative power of dance in their lives.

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