A Response to School Violence-Empathy Training
From Jeff Layne on September 6th, 2016
Cindy Carlson, Oroville School District
Dr. Tom Imhoff, Faculty, CSU, Chico Philosophy Department
Gerrardd Ungerman, Filmmaker
The three presenters at this forum approach the subject of school violence from different perspectives, but they share one major belief: they are looking at the development of an atmosphere of empathy for all students as a way to prevent the circumstances that cause some students to consider violence as a valid reaction.
Cindy Carlson, a K-12 educator for 37 years, organized the forum to discuss the issue and to begin to problem-solve and generate possible solutions. She believes that mental health issues must be dealt with in a way that removes their stigma. She also recommends empathy training.
Dr. Tom Imhoff, a Philosophy Professor at CSU, Chico, has been working with a theory of violence from the book, “Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic,” by James Gilligan, MD. The theory is that people become violent in order to protect their souls, with “soul” being roughly synonymous with “personality.”
The subject of school violence is personal for filmmaker Gerrard Ungerman. His Asberger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism), difficulty speaking, and other problems led to constant ridicule from his classmates. As a teenager, he began to collect guns – including bringing guns to school – to use the threat of violence as a way to gain respect.
Recorded: October 22, 2015