To effectively foster positive student relations (and reduce “bullying” and other hurtful behavior) requires shifting to a powerfully positive approach that emphasizes the positive norms held by the majority of youth and empowers young people with the skills necessary to effectively step in to help if they witness hurtful behavior, stop themselves from being hurtful and take steps to make things right if they are, and be self-confident and respond with positive power if someone is hurtful to them.

This also requires that staff have an accurate understanding of hurtful interactions between students and effective strategies to assist students stop being hurtful, accept personal responsibility, remedy the harm, and restore relationships.

Embrace Civility in the Digital Age promotes a 21st Century approach to address hurtful youth behavior in the digital age.  This approach promotes the positive values held by young people, empowers young people with effective skills and resiliency, and encourages young people to be helpful allies who positively intervene when they witness peers being hurt or at risk. This approach also focuses on increasing the effectiveness of adults in supporting young people and effectively responding to the hurtful incidents that occur.

The objective of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age is to develop and disseminate powerful positive approaches to promote positive youth relations by:

  • Helping young people gain greater self-confidence and resilience to reduce the potential they will be treated badly and increase their effectiveness in responding.
  • Encourage those young people who are on a path to leadership to become positive leaders who promote acceptance of differences and positive intervention, rather than engaging in hurtful behavior to achieve dominance.
  • Encourage young people who witness hurtful behavior to be Helpful Allies who step in to help by reaching out, saying stop, ore reporting serious concerns.
  • Increase the effectiveness of adults in intervening in ways that foster resilience, restoration, and intervention.
  • Increase the capacity of adults, including educators, youth development professionals, and parents/guardians, in providing essential support to those young people who are more frequently targeted, including those who are also aggressive.

Information about Resources on this Site

Embrace Civility: Fostering Positive Relations in School

These resources are available now.

Embrace Civility: Fostering Positive Relations in School is a professional development resource for school staff. This resource includes 6 short videos for school staff to watch, with accompanying written materials. Using a “flipped classroom-student voice” approach, staff can watch these videos on their own and then ask students questions about what they learned. This insight is then brought to a staff meeting for discussion and identification of positive strategies.

The 6 units cover:

  • Unit 1. Embrace Civility Student Survey & Overview of a Positive New Approach
  • Unit 1. Research Insight to Support Rethinking Bullying Prevention
  • Unit 3. Helping Students Who Have Been Targeted Gain Resilience
  • Unit 4. Helping Students Who Are Hurtful Stop, Own it & Fix it
  • Unit 5. Encouraging Students to Step in to Help
  • Unit 6. Effective Interventions by Staff Who Witness Hurtful Incidents

Unit 7. Effective Investigations & Restorative Interventions is a resource for designated staff members who must respond to the more serious hurtful situations. This resource also contains a Positive Plan of Action for any student facing challenges and an Accountability Agreement for any student who has been hurtful.

Be a Leader!

Be a Leader! is Embrace Civility in the Digital Age’s powerfully positive program to empower students to:

  • Reach Out to those who have been left out or treated badly.
  • Say “Stop” to those who are hurtful.
  • Report Concerns to an adult who can help.
  • Stop, Own It & Fix It if they have been hurtful.
  • Be Positively Powerful in response to hurtful incidents.

Version I of this program is provided to schools AT NO CHARGE!!!

Expert Services

Nancy Willard is available for workshops and can also provide webinars for professional development. Nancy also provides legal research, mediation, and settlement assistance to attorneys working for school districts or student plaintiffs.


Nancy’s resources to address digital safety are found here. This work has been “back-benched” while Nancy has been working on new resources to promote positive relations.

Informational Documents

Over the years, Nancy Willard has written numerous reports and articles. You can find these resources on this page.

Image. Wikipedia Commons. Created by Lumax Art at: http://www.lumaxart.com/

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