When a large number of people are together in a confined space for a long time, conflict can arise. Children spend many hours together in schools, and some schools—elementary through high school—experience fighting among the students.
Share the following video [:53]:
Elementary school principal pays Pennsylvania students $100 to keep the peace
In an effort to promote peace in her school, Principal Andrewlevich was willing to pay her own money to reward those who made it through the entire school year without fighting. She offered $100 each to all 32 eighth grade students for a potential total of $3,200.
- Why do you think peace in her school is so important to Principal Andrewlevich that she would give up some of her hard-earned money? (Answers may include: she wants to teach a lesson about getting along in community; she doesn’t like fighting; fighting disrupts the learning environment; she is tired of breaking up fights or seeing the same students sent to her office; she wants more for her students; etc.)
- Do you think her plan for peace is a good idea or a bad idea? (Answers may be divided. While the idea looks as if it is working, some students may realize that if students get used to doing the right thing only when they get paid to do it, trouble is undoubtedly ahead.)
- How would you rate your school on a peace scale, one meaning there is a lot of conflict and five meaning there is a lot of peace? Explain the rating you give your school. (Answers will vary.)
- Whose responsibility is it to keep peace in your school? (Answers will vary but may include: principal, teachers, school police, students, everyone.)
Conflict can arise on a school bus, at a sports game, during after-school club, or in the process of a conversation. Conflict can come up between family members or friends, not only between classmates or enemies.
- How do you feel inside when you are involved in conflict with others? (Answers may include: angry, sad, depressed, torn, etc.)
- What are some reasons for conflict? (Answers will vary; answers might include different opinions, disagreements, not getting one’s own way, etc.)
- What do you do when conflict arises between you and another person? (Answers will vary.)
Our response to a difficult situation could make the difference between conflict and peace. Isaac faced a situation that could have resulted in a fight. Let’s see if what he did can help us when we are faced with potential conflicts.