in public schools reveals PeaceMakers' curriculum significantly
reduces "high risk" student violence
a study completed May, 2001 in 14 Missouri public schools
served by FreeWay, violent behavior was reduced 13.5%
by the teaching of the "PeaceMakers'" violence
prevention curriculum in 61 classrooms. The survey of
a total of 957 students, grades 3 through 12, was designed
to measure the changes brought about by the 4-session
classroom activities taught by FreeWay prevention specialists.
The anonymous survey was conducted prior to the first
classroom session and then re-administered following
the fourth classroom session. (Usually the FreeWay educator spends one day on each school campus about once a month.)
This "pre" and "post" questionnaire
was designed to measure student attitudes, verbal abuse,
and physical abuse patterns.
Students were instructed to indicate their grade and
gender, then respond to these three statements:
stay angry and try to get even with people who hurt
yell at people I dont like and call them ugly
shove, slap, punch, or kick people who dont
do what I say.
each of these three statements, students were asked
to check the one best answer: "Most of the time";
"About half of the time"; or "Hardly
ever." The students who marked "Most of the
time" on the survey were considered to be "high
risk," and they are the main focus of the inter-active
activities included in the K-12 curriculum. (Although
PeaceMakers' is taught in all grades, the survey did not
include children in kindergarten thru second
Overall results (grades 3-12) reveal that PeaceMaker
reduced "Holding grudges/seeking revenge"
among high risk students by 17.7%. Verbal abuse was
reduced by 24.4%, and physical abuse was reduced by
13.5% among those students who initially indicated "Most
of the time" to the survey questions before the
four teaching sessions began.
Among the high risk elementary students (grades 3-5),
the most significant change occurred in their attitudes,
with a 31.7% reduction in the number of those who initially
reported holding grudges and seeking revenge "Most
of the time."
Among the high risk middle school students (grades 6-8),
the number of students using verbal abuse "Most
of the time" dropped 35.1%, and the number of students
using physical abuse "Most of the time" dropped
Among the high risk high school students (grades 9-12),
the number of students holding grudges and seeking revenge
"Most of the time" fell 38.2%; the number
of students using verbal abuse "Most of the time"
plummeted 47.0%; and the number of students using physical
abuse "Most of the time" dropped 6.7%.
The 3-volume PeaceMakers' curriculum, written by Dr.
Curt Scarborough, former president of FreeWay, is
based on the concept that violence begins with attitudes
of the mind, progresses through angry speech, and results
in hostile actions. Therefore, students are taught always
to speak courteously and treat others politely, with
acceptance, dignity, and respect . . . the same way
they would like to be spoken to and treated.
The curriculum is grounded on two of the main pillars
of our nation: liberty and justice . . . as seen in
the pledge of allegiance to the flag. These are the
values we teach in public school classrooms: first,
"liberty" . . . that a person is free to do
whatever he decides within the bounds that a unit of
society (home, school, state, etc.) has established.
Our second value is "justice" . . . which
we define as the boundaries which have been established,
limiting our personal freedom on the basis of truth,
fairness, right, and benefit to all concerned. Persons
who step on these lines are "out of bounds."
They make themselves subject to a penalty designed to
fit the seriousness of the infraction.
PeaceMakers' uses fresh lesson plans and challenging learning
activities to teach three fundamental principles:
sure you know the truth before you speak; control
what you say and how you say it; do not criticize
or condemn anyone personally.
conflict situations, be willing to compromise rather
than always demanding your own way; seek immediate
reconciliation and offer complete forgiveness.
not practice revenge or try to "get even"
in any way; use the tactics of avoidance, passive
resistance, and non-violence; combat prejudice and
hatefulness with tolerance and kindness.
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