IMPORTANT READ & RESOURCE: Healing from the Roots: How Community Involvement Can Address our National Violence by Semein Washington

With the most recent mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our national debate on gun control has resumed its fervor. While firearms are the modus operandi, and gun deaths and injuries constitute a large number of violent encounters, gun debate does not cause much change other than movements to gun protectionism. Confronting this issue with a focus on guns is important but there are numerous ways to approach violence. Pistols and rifles are the most available and efficient ways to harm, but why are people violent? Another way to ask the question is “How do we keep the stresses of daily life from causing acts of anger?”

Confronting the issue on the basis of children is effective as it teaches a lifetime of anger management tools.

In Hampton, Virginia, there is a facility dedicated to the groundwork of anger management. The expansion of such programs may serve to address our problems with violent acts, particularly by use of firearms.

Peaceful Alternatives to Tough Situations (PATTS) is located at 2021 Cunningham Drive, Suite 400 in Hampton, VA 23666.

PATTS describes their philosophy as such:

“PATTS utilizes group instruction and role play to help youth learn nonviolent conflict resolution skills, demonstrate more forgiveness in conflict situations and take responsibility for their choices and behavior.

This program was developed to focus on youth learning appropriate expression of their emotions since a growing body of research is indicating that many aggressive children are actually depressed and traumatized children.

PATTS adopts the perspective that many aggressive children have exceptional leadership qualities that need to be redirected into more socially acceptable behavior. Aggressive children often time have not had the guidance and support from their families, neighborhoods, and peers to utilize nonviolent conflict resolution skills. PATTS groups are designed to encourage peer support and reinforcement of positive behaviors and choices. Learning is encouraged through brainstorming sessions, activities and role plays.

Research supports the need to involve families and teachers to reinforce new conflict resolution skills in youth.

PATTS integrates these influential people in the youths life through a Family night to educate them on ways they can support positive conflict resolution skills. There is also a teacher training presentation available to prepare the teachers on ways to incorporate these conflict management skills in the classroom so participants can be reinforced after the nine week curriculum is complete.”

Contact Info for PATTS:

Ann Marie Long, Youth Empowerment Coordinator,, 757-690-4782
Ellen Williams, Director of Behavioral Services,, 757-838-1960 ext 313.

They can be found online here:

More insightful approaches to the causes of anger are needed.

PATTS works to empower angry children and young adults rather than marginalize. Such structured work goes a long way to preventing aggression.

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