The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Spaces4Learning.

Safe Schools and Learning Environments Project Arms Teachers with Communication Skills Instead of Weapons

Professional mediator Douglas Noll announces the nationwide expansion of his Safe Schools and Learning Environments Project

Fresno, Calif. — Professional mediator, award winning lawyer and award winning author Douglas Noll announces nationwide expansion of his Safe Schools and Learning Environments Project. Started as a pilot project for the Fresno Unified School District, Noll is now expanding the project nationwide in an effort to reduce school violence and bullying. Noll’s project trains teachers how to de-escalate angry or emotional students in less than two minutes. The teachers are equipped to teach students the same skills to use with their peers. Noll's decision to expand the pilot project nationwide came in part as a response to some US states, including four Missouri school districts, adopting laws allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons and training them how to shoot.

“Arming teachers treats the symptoms, not the origins of the underlying problems. And, what happens to the mental stability of a teacher that has to stare down and shoot a kid? This has far reaching social, emotional and legal implications. There is a better way,” Noll advises.

Douglas Noll, award winning mediator and co-founder of the Prison of Peace Project, has been retained by the Restorative Practices staff of the Fresno Unified School District to bring the skills and techniques he and colleague Laurel Kaufer refined in maximum security prisons to school sites. Along with 8 other California school districts, Fresno Unified will be graded by the socio-emotional learning of their students. The district’s job is to teach students how to be emotionally intelligent. Noll’s innovative techniques, based on how the human brain actually processes emotional information, will be used as a part of this new learning process. Noll started training teachers in June and will pick up again during the fall, training teachers how to read and respond to intense emotional situations in the classroom.

"Instead of arming teachers with lethal weapons and asking them to switch from nurturer to SWAT first responders, I arm teachers with the powerful personal skills that allow them to calm an angry child or shut-down teenager in 90 seconds or less. I hope to inspire teachers to teach kids how to do the same with their friends and families. Laurel Kaufer and I refined these techniques in our award-winning Prison of Peace project. We have taught scores of violent offenders how to de-escalate potentially lethal arguments in seconds. I am confident this project will succeed with teachers, children, and teens,” Noll says.

Teachers and administrators in the public school systems are both alarmed and afraid of the unprecedented amount of shootings in schools across the country. This project is a hopeful solution to prevent violence and bullying that threatens the life and freedom of the school-aged child. Teachers are weary of being afraid to go to work. Parents are afraid to send their children to school.

“When the FUSD Restorative Practices officials heard me talk about our results from our Prison of Peace Project (for which Doug Noll and Laurel Kaufer were honored as California Lawyer Magazine Lawyers of the Year Award in 2012) and saw the videos, they asked if I could assist them. The project started in June with 30 middle school teachers. As the new school year begins, I will be training high school and middle school teachers in a local high school cluster. We expect significant reductions in disciplinary actions by the teachers, more engaged students, and a much improved school climate,” Noll explains. For more information about the Safe School Project visit

Doug Noll is an award winning peacemaker, award winning lawyer, and award winning author of the book Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus, 2011), the winner of the International Peace And Justice Book Award. Doug Noll is a core faculty member of the American Institute of Mediation, a preeminent mediation training institute founded by Lee Jay Berman. Doug won the California Magazine Lawyer of the Year Award for his Project Prison of Peace ( Doug conducts a comprehensive course on listening and de-escalating anger at For more information contact Diane at [email protected].

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