Date of Defense



Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Morin

Second Advisor

Dr. Joyce Thompson

Third Advisor

Betsy Voshel


From manners and etiquette in the past, to drug and violence intervention in the present, social and character education in public schools plays a vital role in the development of individual students and, in turn, the community in which they live. (Schuman, 2003).

Focused on assisting students to become the most successful and healthy individuals possible, social and character education plays an even more vital role in today's classrooms. Deeply tied to today's social and character education is the complex realm of emotions. Shaped and trained by the home, school and community environments, children learn how to display their emotions in socially acceptable manners (Flannery et al., 2003). Research has helped educators focus social and character education programs mainly on drug and violence intervention. These programs have begun to be implemented at an ever increasing rate since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, in the setting where they may have the most influence, elementary schools (ages 5-10) (Flannery et al, 2003). Precursors to such violent and socially unacceptable behaviors as drug use, homicide, and assault in adolescents and adults have been linked to such early childhood behaviors as kicking, hitting, and verbal insults (Flannery et al., 2003). These violent behaviors are generally linked to an emotional trigger resulting in the behavior. If students can learn how to properly managetheir emotions such violent behaviors would be reduced and further reducing the chances of violent behavior as adults.

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of a school-based intervention program on its participants' ability to properly handle their emotions in a socially acceptable manner. Responses on a select group of focused survey questions were combined to study the influence of the Project Charlie/Peaceful Partners elementary (grades 1-4) school-based intervention program on student emotional expression. The survey was given to current 5 grade students at Waylee Elementary in Portage, MI and to all students in grades 5-8 at Central Middle School, also in Portage, MI. Central Middle School's student population is a combination of eight elementary schools in the Portage Public Schools district, along with other students who have moved into the district. Data collected from those students who were Project Charlie/Peaceful Partners program participants in an earlier grade or grades in the program at Waylee Elementary were compared to the data collected from other middle school students who did not receive the program in elementary school. The data collected was also analyzed for differences in the ways each gender expresses emotion. Analysis of the survey results found no statistically significant differences in emotional expression between those students who received Project Charlie Peaceful Partners at Waylee Elementary and those students who did not. Also, no statistically significant differences were found in emotional expression between the genders. In conclusion, the results of the study indicate a need to further investigate, on many levels, the Project Charlie/Peaceful Partners program and the environment and community in which it is implemented.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only