Professor of Social Welfare Ron Avi Astor spoke to the Southern California News Group about ways to prevent bullying and violence in schools. In a survey of California middle and high school students, about one in three reported being bullied or harassed over a five-year period. However, schools that have implemented a focus on “social-emotional learning” saw lower levels of reported bullying. Social-emotional learning emphasizes that students get in touch with their own emotions and mental well-being and show empathy for others. “This actually moves into the core purpose of what schools are supposed to do for society; they are supposed to create a society that cares, that supports and helps people,” Astor said. “It puts schools out in front of what we hope society will be in 10 years.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, many California school districts have increased their focus on students’ mental health and well-being.