Peacebuilding for Adolescents: Strategies for Educators and Community Leaders

Peacebuilding for Adolescents: Strategies for Educators and Community Leaders

Peacebuilding for Adolescents: Strategies for Educators and Community Leaders

Peacebuilding for Adolescents: Strategies for Educators and Community Leaders

Synopsis

"Relying largely on the work of peace- and conflict-resolution scholars from many disciplines, Peacebuilding for Adolescents presents proactive strategies for educators and community leaders. In order to deter adolescent violence, educators have been responding to increasing levels of school violence by severely punishing aggressive children, and politicians have been clamoring for tougher criminal justice measures to deter youth from crime. The authors in this book argue, instead, for a more humane response by teaching young people to value peace, to learn to manage their own conflicts, and to live more peacefully. They take a broad view that ranges over three strategic levels of analysis - personal, school, and community. They argue for the promotion of a culture of nonviolence in the schools to help create what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the beloved community." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This past year has seen fifty-six incidents of violence in schools in the United States that have either killed or maimed students or teachers. This is only the worst total among the many aggressive and violent incidents taking place in schools around the world. The most serious of these, like the shootings in Peducah, Kentucky, or Jonesboro, Arkansas, have produced headlines worldwide. Other violent events in schools—fights, harassments, weapons violations, and bullying incidents—never make the news, but still leave injured the par ticipants and trouble others, who have to struggle over ways to respond to the aggravations. School authorities, frustrated and frightened, often seek quick solutions. These are more often than not get-tough measures to provide secure school environments.

The editors of this book and the authors of its articles argue for a new approach to these alarming problems that grows out of peace theor y. They find school violence to be rooted in deeper cultural norms and behaviors that are exhibited in homes and communities across the United States. In other words, these violent events reflect a violent culture. If we understand how deeply violence permeates our schools, we can promote a peaceful culture. Our authors call for a holistic approach that offers no quick fixes, but rather builds in the minds of young people a commitment to the ways of peace.

Most people concerned about the problems of school violence are essentially trying to put out fires. We ask why these fires star t in the first place. What can we do to keep them from breaking out? Such questions come hard to overburdened teachers and school administrators concerned about teaching from set curricula and preparing students for competitive examinations. They are, nevertheless, essential to educational enterprises. Unless school authorities address the devastating effects of violence upon youth adequately, angr y, frightened . . .

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