Tokoyo Palmer’s senseless death is a testament to the importance of a conflict resolution initiative launched in December by the city’s Health Department and the Center for Restorative Approaches. The program is part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s NOLA for Life anti-violence initiative and is focused on public schools.
Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools in 2013 called for schools to use restorative justice techniques and help students work out their problems with each other.
Tokoyo had been concerned about the issue as well. As a 10th grader, he talked on a video interview about the need for more social workers on school campuses to help resolve disputes. He was referring to fights among students. He and Kareem Richards were neighbors, not classmates.
But if more young people had the skills needed to resolve conflicts without violence the city might be safer. Perhaps Tokoyo would have been able to get to his bus stop in Algiers unharmed.
That is basically the idea behind the conflict resolution program.
“Violence is preventable, not inevitable,” Mayor Landrieu said in announcing the new program. He is encouraging schools citywide to take advantage of the program. Schools ought to leap at the chance to be part of the anti-violence program….
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