While Ohio's comprehensive model is paving the way for more effective program institutionalization, more work is needed to establish conflict resolution education as a permanent fixture in the nation's education system. Despite statewide education statistics showing that disciplinary incidents in schools in Ohio for fighting far outnumber disciplinary incidents related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (which have attracted substantial prevention funding), funding continues to decrease for conflict resolution education efforts. Yet conflict resolution evaluations show that significant decreases in discipline-related problems such as fighting result in significant cost savings to the school district and the state.
This lack of funding targeted at prevention of interpersonal violence through efforts such as conflict resolution education is not a phenomenon unique to the state of Ohio. It is critical to better inform funders and policymakers of the data that links this kind of education in our schools and universities with a reduction in violent incidents. A recent World Health Organization report on interpersonal violence (excluding the costs related to war) shows this violence costs the United States around $300 billion annually, with violent crime committed by a single minor generally costing the victim approximately $61,000 in expenses. Funders should be made aware that investing in Kindergarten-through-grade-twelve dispute resolution education is critical to seeing a reduction in societal violence. The billions saved by investing in prevention can then be reallocated from more punitive efforts (court costs, juvenile detention centers, prisons, etc.) and redirected toward critical needs such as health, education, and economic development.
Jennifer Batton is director of education programs for the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. Assistance in preparing this chapter was provided by Edward M. Krauss, director of community and court programs
Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management
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