The Safe and Supportive Schools Project promotes safe and supportive environments to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among adolescents. Through customized training, technical assistance and consultation, the project increases the capacity of state education agencies to help school districts create safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff. Education agencies may seek specific assistance for groups of youth at disproportionate risk, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth with an emphasis on young men who have sex with men, homeless youth and youth enrolled in alternative schools.
Safe and supportive environments are characterized by the absence of discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. Creating safe and supportive school environments involves school personnel, leaders of community organizations, parents and youths working together to build positive, supportive and healthy environments that promote acceptance and respect. Schools can assist by implementing clear policies, procedures and activities designed to prevent bullying and violence and promote health and safety. The APA’s Safe and Supportive Schools Project promotes three key strategies: preventing bullying, sexual harassment, and electronic aggression; improving school connectedness; and promoting parent engagement in schools.