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Colman McCarthy, who teaches courses on peace in Washington, D.C., area schools, says education about alternatives must begin in earliest grades

11:26 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) --- The most frequently-asked question following the Friday shootings at a Connecticut elementary school has been: Why?

There may be no easy or comprehensive answers but one Washington educator thinks he knows a major contributing factor.

Why are we so violent?

"One reason is we are not taught alternatives to violence, so people get through all our schools and never hear that there are other ways to solve conflicts without using fists, guns, armys, bombs and nukes. If you don't know how to do it, then you can't do it.

"So, I've been teaching courses for 30 years on alternatives to violence. I've had at least 11,000 students over those years but I'm just one lone guy out there doing that. If we took peace education seriously, every school beginning in first grade, second grade, third, right right on through elementary school, middle school, high school, college would offer these courses as basic parts of our education system, but it's not happening," said Colman McCarthy, who teaches courses on peace and alternatives to violence at DC and Maryland schools.

Why aren't the courses a regular part of American education?

"You have to ask the school boards that, okay? Because they keep pushing math and science. Let's teach sociology and history, or let's teach peace education.

"To talk to the school boards and talk to members of congress, and talk to Arne Duncan ( The US Education Secretary) and Michelle Rhee ( the former DC Schools Chancellor) and ask them. I've been doing this for 30 years and I don't worry about being successful, I worry about being faithful...Evidently people that fund our schools don't care about it," McCarthy told 9News.

McCarthy says the education has to begin in the earliest grades.
9News asked how you reach a 14-year-old who spends hours playing violent video games

"Well, we've already had him in first grade, ideally, and taught him about mediation. We've already had him in second grade. It's the same way you don't take a 14-year-old and start teaching him math. You've already had him in the first grade taking math, and second grade.

"So, we teach math all through school. It's the same principle. If you teach peace education, maybe the boy would not be so interested in violent video games," McCarthy said.

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