Most children spend more waking hours at school than they do in their homes, making schools a primary vehicle for social learning. Although treatment or clinical services are not typically the primary focus of educational institutions, the experiences that children have with the adults and peers at their schools can either compound or repair experiences of adversity the ACES study tells us are so common in the US. Negative academic outcomes can be tied to brain changes that result from exposure to adversity, and behavioral problems abound when students rely on their trauma-reactive survival skills to manage classroom stressors. Sanctuary in schools offers strategies for educators to construct discipline policies and practices that help repair and restore relationships rather than reinforce traumatic experiences for students. With the reparative experiences that educators can provide in their school environments, students in trauma-informed school programs can see better academic outcomes.
Schools also provide the groundwork needed for students to learn to be good citizens. Sanctuary provides theory, language, philosophy and tools for structuring and ordering that development in students. To meet the needs of classroom teachers and administrators, the tools of Sanctuary are adapted for use as tier one, two and three interventions in the RTI model. As in all other settings, the involvement of all personnel is imperative to successful use of Sanctuary – which means indirect service providers like cafeteria workers, front office staff and others are included in the implementation.