Conflict with Resolution: A Reflection of School Resistance
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A solution to the increasing violence in schools may not seem to be within reach, so many hope that their children do not become part of a statistic. Others have taken on a more optimistic viewpoint. Conflict resolution programs have spread throughout the country within the last twenty years to address problems of violence and conflict. Many rationalize these programs by explaining that by developing peacemaking skills in children through the schools, the amount of violence when they return to the streets will be reduced. Efforts to offer alternatives to violence in schools also results in the creation of an environment that is more conducive to learning. The importance of such programs is obvious given the words of the young author who was quoted in the beginning of this introduction. She, like many are afraid. Therefore, the effectiveness of these programs is crucial to the total fabric of the American society. Many programs have been difficult to implement given the diversity of American education. Teachers, administrators, and students all possess a certain amount of differing beliefs and values systems. Conflict resolution programs must accommodate the needs and diversity of the population who participate in creating their vision. The realities of the resistance to that vision must be dealt with delicately so as to not upset the total school climate more than before. The following pages will explore one such program, the vision that it is attempting to create, and the resistance that it faced within the school during its first stages. Throughout three sections, the practice of one conflict resolution program will be carefully analyzed to reveal the different constituencies involved and their resistance to the vision. The first section is an explanation of the methods that were used to explore this topic. The second section will set the stage for the program that is currently being implemented. The third section examines the resistance to the current program from the teachers, the administrators, and even the students within the school. Their reactions to outsiders, their conspiracy of silence, and some of their conflicting values will be evaluated as evidence of their resistance. The total body of this project will hopefully shed some light on the existing problems that conflict resolution programs must recognize and accept.