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Friday, August 26, 2011

Anger Management Classes In the Public Schools

Oakland Unified School District needs to try offering anger management on an experimental basis. Since anger management is considered education, the school does not lose its daily student allowance. Anger Management is a far better and more current response to poor behavior than the antiquated use of suspensions and expulsions. There just isn't any learning nor behavior change for today's adolescent by suspending them. Suspension is just a few days out of school to play video games and hang out!!

School age kids are under continual pressure. I believe that the media, peers, parents dreams and expectations contribute to the behavior patterns and violence that I am experiencing with my adolescent clients. Considering that the 150 year tradition of expulsion and suspension is still the way today's students are held accountable for inappropiate behavior, instituiting anger management is, to some degree, out of the box thinking. Once effective diciplinary tools, expulsion and suspension are ineffective with 21st century adolescents and teens. Anger management is proving to be far more effective and current in addressing today's adolecents' inappropriate behavior.

Everyone gets angry from time to time. It's how they handle the anger that makes the difference. Many school age adolescents simply haven't learned or do not have conflict resolution skills or anger management tools. Anger management classes teach these tools and improves behavior. The Oakland Unified School System needs to take a look at other school district's processes for anger management.

The Merced School District in California has instituted an anger management program required for youths who get in trouble. This effective program is proving to be enormously successful effective. Kelly Bentz, a Merced Union High School program, adminstrator, found the current anger and behavior issues in the district chronic among adolescents and describes that anger and violence as not just a school issue; but a community issue as well.

In the 2009-10 school year, 427 students in Central California, Atwater, Buhare Colony, Golden Valley, Merced, Livingston, Sequoia and Yosemite high Schools were referred to anger management classes. Although of these incidents were fights that occurred off campus, however the behavior did not exempt the students from having to take at least 10 sessions of anger management.

Offering anger management in the Central California High Schools is relatively new, yet it is clear to officials that they have hit upon an immediate success with the 75 minute anger management classes. Yer Xiong, the district's children and youth liaison, started facilitating anger management groups at campuses in the district a few years ago. In Xiong’s observations "generally students don't know what else to do to resolve anger so they fight" without thinking of the consequences.

I have said this many times and will continue.

The Anger Management Institute provides an excellent anger management curriculum for adolescents and adults privately and in groups. If you or someone you know needs help with adolescent anger management please call: Yacine Bell @ 510.393.0250

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