Violence: Past, Present and Future

A New Course for High School Students at the Brown School

 

On December 21, 1988, a terrorist group blew up Pan Am jumbo jet flight 103

over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board and 11 people on

the ground.

 

On February 26, 1993, again, a terrorist group attempted to blow up the

World Trade Center in New York City, killing 5 people and leaving more than

a thousand injured in the process.

 

On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal

building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 167 people including children

who were attending a day care center in the building. The prime suspect

has been linked to this country's growing militia movement.

 

On July 17, 1996, TWA flight 800 blew up over Long Island Sound killing all

230 people on board. Terrorists are speculated to have planted a bomb that

blew the cockpit away from the rest of the plane.

 

On July 27, 1996, someone left a pipe bomb in a knapsack in Centennial Park

during the Olympics in Atlanta. The bomb exploded, killing 2 people and

injuring dozens more.

 

During these same months, crimes committed by juveniles skyrocketed:

 

In San Antonio, Texas, a 13-year-old girl was convicted of smothering two

small children left in her care.

 

In Portland, Oregon, a 10-year-old boy was found guilty of murdering his

5-year-old sister because he claimed she was annoying him.

 

In Chicago, Illinois, a 14-year-old girl was shot to death by an

11-year-old gang member who was in turn found dead a few days later, two

bullets in the back of his head. His suspected killers are 14 and 16.

 

In Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, a 13-year-old boy was accused of beating

a 22-year-old neighbor with a mop handle and then raping her.

 

In Somerset, Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old was charged with hammering nails

into the heels of a younger boy.

 

And in Washington, D.C., a Superior Court judge told Time magazine,

"Youngsters used to shoot each other in the body. Then in the head. Now

they shoot each other in the face."

 

As a nation and as a world, we are not feeling well. If present trends

continue, the 20th century seems destined to be remembered as the bloodiest

in the history of humankind, a century of despair.

 

What is this all about? What psychohistorical threads are common to all

these actions, and to other instances of violence throughout history?

 

 

What is the Course Description?

Violence: Past, Present and Future is a course that is being offered at the

Brown School to allow high school students the opportunity to explore the

history of violence, examine the current climate of violence, review the

alternatives to violence, and project themselves into a future of their own

design. Many of the course assignments and discussions will be designed to

develop students' capacities to analyze, defend and critique public

policies, and to develop skill with the use of information resources

available in the library and on the Internet. Beginning with a look at the

biological, sociological and psychological roots of violence and

aggression, class sessions throughout the year will include, but are not

limited to: history of war and the theory of just wars; heroes and

heroines; cultural, institutional and structural violence; violence in

popular culture past and present -- sports, media, entertainment, etc;

alternatives to violence including mediation, conflict resolution and

theories of non-violence; and psychological aspects of violence including

powerlessness, anger and shame.

Students will be engaged in:

* Reading

* Lectures

* Discussion

* Film and other resources

* Simulations

* Guest speakers

* Group research projects and presentation

* Fieldwork

 

 

What are the Course Objectives?

* To understand the root causes of violence and

aggression;

* To become aware of why and how violence has become an

inappropriate expression of aggression;

* To explore different ways of looking at and thinking

about violence;

* To uncover our hidden assumptions about violence and

non-violence;

* To analyze real situations involving violence and some

possible solutions;

* To develop and critique alternatives to violence;

* To enhance your social skills of listening, discussing,

sharing, advising,

interacting, trusting, negotiating and deciding.

 

 

How Much Credit and When Will Class Meet?

Class will meet two times per week for the entire year (both semesters),

once during MAP and once at a time to be determined, probably for the hour

before school starts. Students who:

* make the commitment to take this course for the entire

year,

* who complete the assigned work, and

* who attend and participate in class on a regular basis

 

will receive 1/2 elective credit (the equivalent of taking a one semester

course that meets five times per week).

 

 

Who is Eligible to Take This Course?

Violence: Past, Present and Future is available to any and all Brown School

high school students who have written permission from their parent(s) to

add this to their schedules. This class will not be taken in place of

another class in which you are already enrolled. This class is in addition

to your regularly scheduled classes.

 

 

Who Is the Instructor?

WAVE member Jan Arnow will be teaching this course. An internationally

recognized authority on issues of multicultural education, violence

abatement, prejudice reduction, and ethnic traditions, she is also a highly

respected and award-winning author of six books and scores of articles for

a variety of national magazines. Her most recent book, Teaching Peace:

Raising Kids in Harmony Without Fear, Without Prejudice, Without Violence,

was published in September 1995 by Putnam Group Publishers. She is

currently working on several new projects: the design and implementation of

a national institute on violence and aggression in youth and several books.

Her teaching experience ranges from workshops to university courses, she

has developed and successfully taught pilot programs both regionally and

nationally on various issues of creativity and education, and she has most

recently addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the issues

of children and violence.

 

For three years, up to May, 1994, she was the Manager of Multicultural

Education at the Kentucky Department of Education. As part of her

responsibilities at the Department, she defined multicultural education for

the Commonwealth during their landmark school reform; created policy

guidelines for implementation of multicultural curriculum; designed and

implemented state-wide multicultural education workshop/training matrixes

and conferences; and worked closely with both Department and district

personnel to bring them up to speed on multicultural issues.

 

Prior to coming to the Department of Education, she established the

Institute for Intercultural Understanding in Louisville, Kentucky, an

organization involved nationally and internationally in projects which

encourage understanding among diverse cultures. Under her direction, the

Institute began an international program titled Voiceless Victims, a

project documenting the effects on children of conflict, violence and war

through their art and poetry. This project has received funding from two

unique entertainment products -- a benefit recording from Columbia Records

created just for this project called 'Til Their Eyes Shine -- The Lullaby

Album (released July, 1992), and the companion film, Child of Mine -- The

Lullaby Video, first broadcast on the Disney Channel in December 1992 and

winner of the CableAce Award for Best musical special on cable television

during 1993. This recording and film feature prominent vocalists including

Carole King, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash, Dionne Warwick, Brenda

Russell, Gloria Estefan and others performing lullabies, many of which were

composed for this album.

 

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