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Empowering Students to Resolve Conflicts

Working with schools that invest in social and emotional learning is so inspiring. It’s a completely different approach than the traditional anti-bullying message. Instead of just telling student to REPORT social problems, it teaches them how to SOLVE problems while protecting their emotions. It’s refreshing and empowering.

The media will likely label me as an “anti-bullying speaker” for many years to come, as SEL and emotional intelligence are new words in that world. Still, I’m very thankful that this article captures the heart of what I teach to kids and the administration’s passion for empowering their students.

When I was in school, no one taught me how to stop mean behavior. As a result, I needlessly suffered and was hurt by others. Today my goal is to reach kids like me either a proven solution and partner with organizations committed to empowering students and grownups.

Jeff Veley, above, uses comedy mixed with fast-paced story telling to bring an anti-bullying message home for Mesabi East students Wednesday. Veley, who has more than a dozen years in the mental health field working with youth, teaches students how to build up their own social and emotional resilience and develop skills to help address their own social problems with his program, “Love Changes it All.”

Mesabi East School Social Worker Dean Edstrom said the school invited Veley to meet with students and staff because of Veley’s clear and simple concept of “Don’t get upset and treat them like a friend.” Edstrom went on to say that learning skills to fend off social aggression is something that students need to learn so that they are empowered to end the aggression themselves. The Mesabi East district is moving into the educational realm of social emotional learning and the district is working hard to foster a climate where every student is and feels as equally important as their peers.