Peace Crew aims to reduce bullying, violence

INDIANAPOLIS - A group of young people has taken matters into their own hands to reduce violence in the community.

The Peace Learning Center is empowering high school students to help in the fight against bullying, one child at a time.

Students at Crispus Attucks High School practiced on Friday as facilitators from the Peace Learning Center asked two dozen junior and senior students about their assumptions of a person, knowing only a few details.

The results: Stereotypes and opinions.

The goal of the exercise was to teach students to check their perceptions at the door, and in the process, learn there is more to every person than meets the eye.

The group of students had been chosen to be part of the Peace Crew to help model the way for elementary students.

"We believe if you can teach children at a young age and keep a consistent message in their lives on how to be a peacemaker, how to resolve conflicts, how to de-escalate the situations, how to talk things out instead of using violence, that we can help turn the trends around," said Tim Nation with the Peace Learning Center.

Ari Harris said he wasn’t proud of his past behavior.

"When I was younger, I wasn't the best kid. I didn't have anybody to look up to," Harris said.

The senior at Crispus Attucks said he bullied others, but he’s since realized the power he has to make a positive impact.

"I see that I have such a big impact because I'm older than them. They think if I'm older and I do it, then it's cool. So whatever I do, I make sure they do it and it's good," Harris said.

The program has been in place at Crispus Attucks for three years, but the goal is to expand it to other schools in neighborhoods plagued by crime -- and eventually have Peace Crews in every school in the city.

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