With each incident of violence the tenuous sense of safety in schools is damaged
more and more. In response, school personnel are seeking ways to counter violence at
schools, calling for bans on guns and other weapons and increasing police presence on
campuses. Some have even proposed that school personnel be armed (Wilkie, 2013) or
have resorted to using military style tactics such as “shooter detection systems” like those
used in war zones (Street, 2014). While these reactions are not surprising, they are just
that reactions that focus on using means of defensive counter-violence rather than
proactive measures to defuse violence itself. Instead of (or in addition to) discussions
about weapons, it is important to consider how and where the philosophies and pedagogy
of peace education may be located in the dialogue about how to address the problem of
school violence. Drawing on works by Ian Harris, this paper will introduce the
foundational theories of peace education, particularly the five postulates Harris outlined
in his 2002 paper Peace Education Theory, which he presented at the American
Educational Research Association (AERA). Peace Education will be considered here in
terms of how it may be applied by educators in an effort to address school violence. The
authors intend to provoke readers to explore components of peace education and how
they may be taken up in pedagogical practice. Additionally, the authors would like
readers to consider how peace education may become part of curricular planning in order
to address acts and cultures of violence and fear.
Those who are unfamiliar with peace education might begin with the
3rd
Edition
of Peace Education by Ian Harris and Mary Lee Morrison (2013), in which the authors
examine and refine concepts and practices associated with the discipline. One important
postulate is that peace is not simply the absence of war. Indeed, according to Harris and
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