DENVER -- Derek Hawkins was a United States Marine Corps drill instructor. He also is a combat veteran from Desert Storm. He's seen a few conflicts in his life.
Now, he's using that experience in a different way, conflict resolution. Hawkins job title is dean of restorative justice, a non-punitive form of dealing with conflict.
"It pays attention to not only the offender but it also takes into consideration the victim and how they feel and how the community has been affected."
Hawkins has been at Martin Luther King Junior Early College, a Denver middle and high school, for four years. Today, he speaks at a cyber-bullying assembly at the school.
Later, he counsels two young boys who were fighting. Since Hawkins started at MLK Jr., suspensions are down 60 percent. "What we're doing now is we're talking to the kids and allowing them to talk to each other, to work out the problem prior to them fighting. If they've already fought, we're giving them the opportunity to really get to the root of the problem."
Hawkins secret to his success? "My secret is just being present for the kids. Allowing them to talk more than I talk."
He really believes all kids are really good kids, but have been dealt a bad hand in life. Hawkins is more than happy to deal a new deck of cards.AlertMe