Free to Learn

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Free to Learn

In the dynamic landscape of education, where every day brings new challenges and opportunities for growth, educators and school administrators hold an immense responsibility to foster environments where learning flourishes—spaces that are not only safe and inclusive but also vibrant with the diverse identities of each student.

In recent years, our nation has endured a disturbing series of hate-motivated attacks. A Fact Sheet distributed at the United We Stand Summit outlined expectations for Federal agencies to respond to the President’s call to prevent, respond to, and recover from hate-fueled violence, and to foster national unity. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has two primary tasks: 1) Support educational authorities and educational institutions to improve their ability to prevent hate-based threats and bullying and recover from hate-based violence and 2) Enhance overall school safety and climate.  

About Free to Learn 

ED is carrying out its United We Stand commitments under the “Free to Learn” initiative. Through this work, ED is providing resources and support to states and territories, school districts, tribal nations, and public health agencies to prevent, address, and ameliorate the effects of bullying, violence, and hate while also supporting school safety, school-based mental health, and positive school climate so all students are free to learn.

Access Free to Learn Resources

Equipping educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand the varied cultural backgrounds of their students, fostering deeper connections and empathy is essential. Identity is a cornerstone of both mental health and educational outcomes. The intricacies of identity—encompassing culture, ethnicity, religion, gender, and more—play a pivotal role in shaping the school climate and the individual experiences of students. Understanding and honoring these facets of identity is crucial in building environments where every student can truly belong and thrive. By bridging cultural gaps, we can create a foundation of mutual respect and understanding that benefits the entire school community. The resources below support educators in 1) fostering safe, inclusive, support and fair school climates that celebrate diversity, promote well-being, and enhance the educational experience for all students and 2) preventing and addressing identity-based discrimination, bullying, harassment, and violence.  

We Invite You to Pledge to Partner with Us Today! 

States and territories, school districts, tribal nations and public health agencies can Pledge to Partner to create and support schools and other learning environments that prevent, address, and ameliorate the effects of bullying, violence, and hate while also supporting school safety, school-based mental health, and positive school climate.

Pledge Partners can choose to simply pledge to prioritize this work in their ongoing efforts or they can pledge to be an Active Partner engaging in one or more of the activities below. Free to Learn partners will serve as champions and advocates for safe and supportive school environments that are effective, evidence-based, and worthy of our students and their unique potential for learning and success in school and in life.

Active Partner Activities

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

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