Tool Trains Teachers to Handle Violence

Several schools in San Antonio, Texas, will serve as pilots for a high-tech

approach to curb school violence.

The project, funded by the Justice Department's Safe Schools Technologies

program, involves an interactive simulation training tool being developed

by Materials, Communications and Computers Inc. (Matcom), a Texas company.

The tool, which should be available to schools within two years, will

be accessible via the Internet or on CD-ROM, said Bill Walsh, program manager

for Matcom, which also does simulation training for the U.S. military.

The program will enable teachers and administrators to participate in simulations

of real-life events that could happen between students and teachers. Afterwards,

the staff will receive feedback on their decisions from law enforcement

personnel, child psychologists and other educators. Topics will include

conflict resolution and recognizing gang activity.

The prototype should be ready for pilot classrooms next spring, and

the product will be ready for delivery six to nine months after that, Walsh

said.

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