As a special education teacher of students with behavior/emotional problems I spent little time looking for the cause of my students’ problems and most of my time dealing with the day-to-day manifestations of their problems. After twenty plus years I knew punishment was not the answer, but I was never able to quite pin down any demonstrable solution. Nor did I ever hear or read about such an answer. To my and my colleagues’ credit, we never did give up and we even came close to Gary Slutkin’s response in today’s TED selection. Like the doctor, we used a medical model, that is, we treated each student as an individual, we kept copious notes and collaborated whenever and wherever we could, always seeking the answer as to how best to help our students.
Imagine my astonishment when I listened to Slutkin tell how treating violence like a contagious disease, i.e. using the three step process of interruption, prevention and, shifting norms he witnessed the almost unbelievable success of 40 to 70% reduction in violent crimes. His solution is simple, direct and compassionate, with no “bad” guys. He even enlists the people inflicted with the disease as “Violence Interrupters”. I offer today’s selection in hopes of spreading the “good news” as Slutkin refers to it.