Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum

  • Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum is a universal prevention, evidence-based program taught to every student in the classroom rather than to selected children. It has four levels: Preschool/Kindergarten, Grades 1–3, Grades 4–5, and Middle School.


    Second Step teaches students social and emotional skills to help them succeed in school and in life. Second Step units are designed to improve children’s skills in three general areas that are central to healthy social-emotional development. In the Empathy Training unit, children are taught the empathy skills needed to identify emotions and to recognize possible causes of the emotions that occur in their interactions with others. The Impulse Control and Problem-Solving unit, teaches children to respond to social interactions thoughtfully rather than impulsively. They learn problem-solving steps that promote a neutral rather than hostile orientation toward peers. The Anger Management unit teaches children how to manage their own anger constructively. The middle school level includes units on Bullying Prevention and Substance Abuse Prevention.


    The Second Step program received the prestigious "Exemplary" award from the U.S. Department of Education's 2001 Expert Panel on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools. Second Step was selected as a Model Program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and in the White House “1998 Annual Report on School Safety,” produced by the U.S. Department of Education and Justice.


    The third edition of Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum (Committee for Children, 2002) is designed to promote social competence and reduce children’s social-emotional problems. This edition of the curriculum is being implemented in every elementary and middle school, in accordance with the DCSB Anti Bullying Policy 10.20, with some schools having purchased the latest edition for use. In elementary school, it is implemented by the classroom teacher, and in middle school it is implemented through health classes.


    To learn more about the Second Step curriculum visit their website at