Violence Prevention Education

SPAN’s school-based violence prevention program provides services for K-12th students throughout Boulder and Broomfield Counties.

The goal is to stop violent behavior before it begins. We know that strategies that promote healthy behaviors in relationships are important. Programs that teach young people skills for dating can prevent violence. These programs can stop violence in dating relationships before it occurs.

What is social justice education?

At SPAN, we incorporate a social justice framework into our age-appropriate curriculum for school-based programs and community trainings. We believe that in order to end violence against any individual, youth and child, we must understand and challenge the varying forms of oppression people experience, which can be intricately woven into domestic violence. In our classroom and community presentations, we will work side by side with students (K-12) and professionals to respectfully and sensitively explore cultural and historical struggles that face our communities every day. This approach allows individuals to develop critical thinking skills in how they view relationships within societal norms and learn tools to create healthy relationships.

K-8 Violence Prevention Education

We know domestic violence can affect children and youth differently than adults.

Elementary education is a tremendous boon to helping young people stem the cycle of violence as it plays out in various parts of their personal lives.

SPAN’s Choices and Change curriculum is a K-5 violence prevention curriculum first developed in 1994 by Boulder area teachers, administrators and domestic violence educators.

The learning focus of this curriculum is on social and emotional wellness. Using both active and collaborative learning techniques, students understand how to identify and constructively deal with emotions as well as engage in healthy, inclusive relationships.

There is a strong focus on understanding and transforming the bullying dynamic so prevalent in our schools and neighborhoods today. Students finish the curriculum equipped with tools to support themselves into a position of healthy personal and social power whether they currently find themselves playing the role(s) of bully, bullied or bystander.

Elementary students, of course, are not alone in needing support to navigate the waters of socialization.

As we all know, middle school is a time of finding one’s place both among one’s peers and within, literally and figuratively, one’s changing voice and body. Grades 6-8 receive our middle school-tailored curriculum, principally developed from modified versions of our evidence-based curricula Safe Dates and Expect Respect, while maintaining important elements of Choices and Change.

The curriculum approaches this dynamic age group with a heavy emphasis on socially relating to others in healthy, inclusive ways. We teach the gamut from basic conflict resolution all the way to consent, recognizing that changing bodies and awareness leads middle schoolers to consideration and sometimes even exploration of sexual feelings and relationships.

We continuously review and revise our curricula to reflect the changing population and needs of Boulder County.  Our goals are to promote a more inclusive and peaceful school environment where all children have the right to be safe and know how to find use safety and support resources as needed.

Review the Choices and Change curriculum outline.

Review Safe Dates and Expect Respect curriculum online.

For more information on SPAN’s violence prevention work in grades K-8, contact the K-8 Violence Prevention Educator by email or call 303.449.8623.

Youth Violence Prevention Education

The overall goal for the youth violence prevention education program at SPAN is:

  • To eliminate teen dating violence in all its forms in Boulder County; through developing and implementing strategies for interpersonal youth violence prevention.
  • To increase positive interpersonal relationships among youth
  • To increase awareness around and skills in combating systems of oppression with a recognition of their connection to relationship violence and sexual assault

Best-Practices-expect-respeThe Peers Building Justice Program (PBJ) program expressly solicits and is dependent on involvement of youth from underrepresented communities to build collective power in order to combat violence and promote justice.

Peers Building Justice (PBJ) is youth group that uses arts-based projects to promote social justice and resist violence in our communities.  PBJ youth organizers explore how relationship violence and sexual assault are sustained by systems of power and oppression. The afterschool Training Institute provides a space for the youth organizers to deepen their understanding of social justice issues and intersectionality, as well as develop skills to become more effective organizers, advocates, and engaged participants in collective liberation work. PBJ is a collaboration of Safehouse Progressive Alliance (SPAN) and Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA).

We also offer a curriculum to be presented in classrooms throughout Boulder County, Best-Practices-blurbs-safe-during which participants learn how to engage in healthy relationships, prevent dating and sexual violence, and become advocates for social justice.  This curriculum is based on Safe Dates and Expect Respect, two evidence-based violence prevention curricula and also uses tools from the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL) to help build students’ critical thinking skills.

For more information visit:

If you are a student interested in participating in the PBJ program contact the Youth Violence Prevention Educator.

If you are and adult interested in volunteering as a mentor for PBJ, contact the Youth Violence Prevention Educator.