Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reaction to gun violence at Arapahoe High School in Colorado

This morning I am reflecting on the gun violence that occurred at Arapahoe High School in Colorado yesterday. As many of you know my home is in Colorado. Also most of my work involving the Culture of Care and Restorative Justice is occurring in Aurora Public Schools. This school district is also located in the Denver Metropolitan Area, just as Arapahoe High School is. I suggest that there are two lessons we have learned from creating a Culture of Care at Hinkley High School that can help us create safe and peaceful schools.
First, we need to provide a safe place for students to express their emotions, particularly when they are angry. At present we do not provide this safe place. At Hinkley this safe place occurs in the talking circles that occur regularly in classrooms and throughout the school.
Second, we need to build the capacity of students to respond to problems and conflict non violently. At Hinkley students are learning there are peaceful alternatives to responding to wrongdoing and conflict with violence.
If schools adopt restorative justice practices in the classroom as a basis for creating a culture of care, these schools will be peaceful and safe.

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