Education Action: Toronto

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5. War Free Schools

What follows is a set of broad policies for War Free Schools.

They are in early draft form. We hope you will contribute to strengthening these policies with us. Please send us your criticisms and your suggestions for change. We can be reached at eatoronto@yahoo.com.

The magazine Our Schools/Our Selves provides some key background reading for these policies. This reading includes Teaching for a Culture of Peace, edited by Larry Kuehn. It’s a whole issue (v.16, n.2, Winter 2007) devoted this theme with articles ranging from dealing with transforming war toys to peace art to challenging Canada’s new military recruiting drive. OS/OS Winter 2008 (v.17, n.2) has two articles – “End the Curriculum of Killing” by Mathew Behrens and “Youth Culture and War Propaganda – what can we learn from the last century?” by Stephen Dale – that are also important to read. You can reach Our Schools/Our Selves through its publisher, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (ccpa@policyalternatives.ca) tel: 613-563-1341 to find these articles. The CCPA is currently reworking it’s website. Hopefully, within a few months, articles such as these will be reachable directly through this website to Our Schools/Our Selves.

These policies have benefited from discussions with the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. The coalition can be reached at www.nowar.ca, tel: 416-795-5863. Their email is info@nowar.ca. We urge you to subscribe and to support their activities.

We are for

  • A school system that broadly encourages the use of non-violent means to resolve conflict
  • A school system that sets in place a code of conduct dedicated to the creation of communities of respect and mutual understanding
  • A school system that encourages all schools to work with their neighbourhood communities to develop plans together to put school-community partnerships dedicated to nonviolence in the pursuit of equity and social justice
  • A school curriculum that stimulates greater empathy with the diverse peoples in Canada and around the globe, with the aim of having learners understand the impact of local and distant wars
  • A school curriculum that includes the history of nonviolence as a way of advancing equity and social justice
  • A school curriculum that emphasizes international mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence
  • A school curriculum that demonstrates the consequences of the unequal distribution of power and wealth, and the exploitations and abuses of human rights and dignity that often accompany this
  • A school curriculum that stimulates discussion of the role of the Canadian Armed Forces as peace-keepers in world affairs
  • The engagement in schools and students in individual, group and school-wide activities that promote peace and nonviolence
  • The engagement in schools and students in sports activities that eliminate fighting and other violent ways to gain advantage over an opponent

We are against

  • Inaction on the part of schools with respect to violence or the threat of violence on school premises or in the school community
  • The use or condoning the use of any form of violence in school to sanction violence or any other misdoing
  • The routine presence of armed security officers or armed police officers on school premises
  • Any encouragement of young people to participate in warfare of any kind, whether through military recruitment, training or by activities that support warfare elsewhere
  • More specifically, student participation in any Co-op program involving military training
  • A school curriculum that glorifies war or present war time experiences as central to nation building
  • The inclusion of warring culture in the school environment through explicit war simulation games and related activities
  • School sports that privilege hostility over respect for opponents

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