MIAMI (CBS4) – With teen violence and bullying seemingly on the rise, local schools are fighting back.
Thursday a group of students at Booker T. Washington High School participated in a conflict resolution workshop called “Lets Talk It Out.” The goal was to teach students how to not only understand but to properly manage stress and anger, something anti-bullying experts said students don’t always hear.
“We are not taught how to resolve conflict, we are taught to retaliate. We are told if somebody hits you, hit them back,” said Jonathan Spikes, founder of the Jonathan Spikes Foundation, Inc. “We’re never told to take a deep breath.”
During the workshop students came up with and acted out real life conflict scenarios and then discussed how to properly resolve them.
Spikes and school officials hope workshops like this one will help prevent or at least reduce the number of student victims of violence, students like Juan Carlos Rivera.
Rivera was a Coral Gables High School student who was stabbed to death by a classmate in 2009 on school property. Prosecutors said the stabbing was the result of a fight over a female student.
Rivera’s death serves as constant and vivid reminder of how quickly student conflict can escalate if not handled the right way.
One of the methods students learned included deep breathing.
“Quietly you breathe for 10 seconds, I’ve tried it before and it calms you down,” said 11th grader Daniela Joseph, one of the student leaders chosen to participate in the workshop.
Joseph said she looks forward to taking what she learned from the workshop and sharing it with other students because she believes it could help reduce violence and bullying on a lot of levels.
“I’ve seen too many people lose their life over simple fights.”