Teacher and Administrator Perceptions of Peace Education in Milwaukee (US) Catholic Schools
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Often intersecting with systemic inequity and injustice, young people’s exposure to community violence has been linked to a myriad of developmental impacts. A growing literature demonstrates the potential of peace education programs to promote resilient and prosocial outcomes for these individuals. Still, more work can be done to understand underlying mechanisms and implementation challenges to support these young people and build cultures of peace through education more effectively. In this article, we detail the theoretical foundation, context, and socioecological model for Marquette University Center for Peacemaking’s Peace Works program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, before presenting the results of focus groups with teachers and administrators where it was implemented. The conversations touched on how teachers and administrators perceive of the implementation of this peace education program, what impacts they observe in students and school culture, and obstacles to promoting peace in students, schools, and broader communities through this approach. Overall, we aim to contribute to understandings of peace education in violent urban contexts by offering a model built on a theoretical focus on nonviolent communication and behavior and a socioecological model for transformative change, as well as lessons from the program’s implementation.