Preventing violence in schools

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The importance of nonviolent alternatives is evident in our society's ongoing struggle with the issue of violence as it invades our schools, workplaces, and streets.' The United Nations declared "nonviolence" to be the main theme for the first decade of the twenty-first century. The State of Rhode Island has undertaken an effort to become a "model" as the first nonviolent state in the nation, and the University of Rhode Island is acting as the laboratory for this experiment. The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies was formed to promote nonviolence as a flexible approach to conflict resolution. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a civil rights activist who worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was hired to bring to the University of Rhode Island the teachings and theories of Kingian nonviolence and its applications. The Center's mission can be summarized as an ultimate goal to build a nonviolent society that promotes mutual understanding and peaceful processes in resolving conflicts. The Center seeks to accomplish this by providing training programs and education, by expanding its efforts to build additional centers nationally and internationally, and by cooperating with other peace-building organizations. This chapter describes a nonviolence training program offered by the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. The Center offers nonviolence training to University of Rhode Island students; in addition, it has been contracted by local school districts to provide training to high school students and teachers in Rhode Island. The training consists of a two-day seminar that focused on issues of conflict resolution within a multicultural medium. We also describe the results of an evaluation of the program, designed to find out if this particular training seminar is achieving its goals and objectives. To do so, we first defined those goals and objectives; next, we developed an appropriate nonviolence measure which we later used to assess changes among students and teachers who have participated in the program. © 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

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Violence in Schools: Cross-National and Cross-Cultural Perspectives