“Imagine what would happen if millions of our kids grew into adults with better skills to deal with conflict and to cultivate peace. It could fundamentally change our nation and world for the better.”
Huffington Post came out with an excellent article yesterday on school violence and bullying. This is an issue that hits home for far too many students, parents and schools. There are several great resources out there to deal with these issues, but the key is having the proper staff to implement them.
This is the key battle in our schools, not standardized testing and Common Core. But because of these two items, many schools and states have confused curriculum and testing with academic readiness. It’s not just understanding the material, it’s developing the life skills to be able to take those skills into adulthood. Schools can teach academic standards all they want, but if the student doesn’t have the social skills, none of it will matter.
To some, they believe this is not a school’s responsibility. It belongs to the parents. I agree, but only to the point that this is a parent’s responsibility while a student is at home. So much of our children’s lives are shaped by what happens in school. Peer interaction happens in an education setting the most in students lives. Schools are obligated to provide these types of services, instead of accuse/blame/punish. I will go one step further than the article written by Matthew Albracht with the Peace Alliance and say schools need to stop the interrogation techniques with students and not always assume one person needs to take responsibility. What if it is a child with a disability and the “fault” is a manifestation of the disability? Should a child be made to take accountability for something they can’t help? What if a situation started outside of school and the student at “fault” continued it in school? Should they be considered accountable if they didn’t necessarily start it to begin with? These are heavy questions and the time is now for this discussion.
I think any peaceful technique to curb the violence in our schools is welcome, whether it is meditation or social learning groups or whatever works to peacefully stop the situations from occurring in the first place. This means being proactive rather than reactive.