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Guns at School

A Systems Thinking Perspective

One of the most frightening trends to appear over the last decade has been the rise of gun-related violence at schools. A myriad of reasons have been cited for the emergence of this chilling phenomenon. These include: escalating levels of violence in video games, TV and movies, media coverage, declining parental involvement, erosion of moral standards and values, the widespread availability of guns, and rising levels of alienation and rage.

Until we have a solid grip on the relationships responsible for producing and maintaining this scary phenomenon, we have scant hope of doing much to effectively address it. The multitude of diverse factors cited as causes for gun violence at school suggest that it is a systems problem. That makes it a perfect candidate for systems thinking and for demonstrating how the use of software modeling tools enhances our discussions and shared understanding of real-world, social problems.

Guns at School provides an overview of systems thinking, including concepts and language, then walks the reader through school violence issues using models created with STELLA, isee system's leading systems thinking software. The book provides a simple laboratory for testing a variety of initiatives ranging from gun searches and metal detectors to anti-bullying programs and counseling. A CD accompanies the book so that readers can follow the presented examples and test their own theories about best possible solutions.

The intent is to provide thought and stimulate discussion, as well as to underwrite a qualitative exploration of some of the possible initiatives that might be implemented to address this critical issue. The model is not about providing answers. It's about stimulating good conversation by surfacing implicit assumptions in mental models. Please use it in that way.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: isee systems inc.
  • Published: 2006
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427601380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427601384

$22 USD

Paperback

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About the Author

Barry Richmond

Guns at School: A Systems Thinking Perspective was written in 2001 by Barry Richmond, founder of isee systems. Barry Richmond's educational training culminated with his Ph.D. in System Dynamics from MIT in 1979. He then accepted a teaching position at Dartmouth College as an Assistant Professor in the Thayer School of Engineering. Barry was one of the most popular and well-respected teachers at Dartmouth for eight years. In 1985, he founded High Performance Systems (now isee systems), a software development and consulting business, with systems thinking as its foundation. Barry dedicated the rest of his life to teaching people all over the world how to live by systems thinking principles. His expertise was respected worldwide. He was granted the 1989 Jay Wright Forrester Award, a prestigious honor awarded by the System Dynamics Society. The award was for producing the STELLA software, his pioneering work, which revolutionized the system dynamics modeling process.

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