Conflict Resolution Education A Guide to Implementing Programs in Schools, Youth-Serving Organizations, and Community and Juvenile Justice Settings (1996)

The full text of the report is available in pdf format.


Safe and orderly environments in our Nation’s
schools are essential to promoting high standards
for learning and ensuring that all children have
the opportunity to develop to their fullest
potential. No teacher should ever fear to walk into
a classroom, and no child should ever stay home
from school because he or she is afraid. Too often,
however, young people face conflicts before,
during, and after school. They are subjected to
bullying, teasing, and senseless, sometimes fatal,
disputes over clothing and other possessions. Many
of these conflicts either begin at school, or they
are brought into school from the home or the

A growing body of evidence suggests that we are not
powerless to prevent these destructive behaviors.
We can intervene successfully to prevent conflicts
from escalating into violent acts by providing
young people with the knowledge and skills needed
to settle disputes peacefully. Conflict resolution
education can help bring about significant
reductions in suspensions, disciplinary referrals,
academic disruptions, playground fights, and family
and sibling disputes. It is important to understand
that conflict resolution education is a critical
component of comprehensive, community-based efforts
to prevent violence and reduce crime.

Conflict Resolution Education: A Guide to
Implementing Programs in Schools, Youth-Serving
Organizations, and Community and Juvenile Justice
Settings was developed for educators, juvenile
justice practitioners, and others in youth-serving
organizations to heighten awareness of conflict
resolution education and its potential to help
settle disputes peacefully in a variety of
settings. A joint project of the U.S. Department of
Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, this
Guide provides background information on conflict
resolution education; an overview of four widely
used, promising, and effective approaches; and
guidance on how to initiate and implement conflict
resolution education programs in various settings.

As adults, we cannot solve young people’s problems
for them. We can, however, provide them with the
knowledge, skills, and encouragement to resolve
conflicts in a nonviolent manner, using words
instead of fists or weapons. Conflict resolution
education includes negotiation, mediation, and
consensus decisionmaking, which allow all parties
involved to explore peaceful solutions to a
conflict. When these problem-solving processes to
conflict and strife become a way of life, young
people begin to value getting along instead of
getting even or getting their way.

We urge you to help make our schools and our
communities safer places. We invite you to use this
Guide as a means of working with your schools,
community organizations, and other youth-serving
and juvenile justice settings to give our youth the
skills, techniques, and tools they need to learn
and to resolve disputes in a safe and nonviolent


Donna Crawford

Donna Crawford is a co-founder of the Illinois Institute for Dispute Resolution and the National Center for Conflict Resolution Education, serving as executive director since 1992. She is a former teacher, principal and school district special education administrator with expertise in early childhood education and programs for youth with social-emotional… MORE >


Richard Bodine

Richard Bodine has consulted with numerous schools on gifted education, individualized learning programs, behavior management and administrative issues and has directed teacher training institutes on innovative practice. In the past six years he has trained over 3000 adults and over 1000 youth in conflict resolution processes. He has taught graduate level… MORE >

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