The Raymond Hill School has piloted a comprehensive new program this year to address the systemic problems of violence and stress in education. The Peace and Justice Initiative is a comprehensive curriculum intending to create a more peaceful and compassionate school community at the causal level where optimal learning can be achieved.
In August of 2015 RHS hosted the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN) to administer a training in Kingian Nonviolence for our high school teachers and clinicians. It was an intellectually and emotionally rigorous and inspiring workshop aimed at introducing our staff to the power of Kingian Nonviolence. Kingian Nonviolence is derived from the life and philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King and has been taught nationally and internationally in schools, prisons, churches, and police stations. The curriculum was created by Dr. Bernard La Fayette, a colleague and confidante of Dr. King, and he has been working closely with CTCN since its inception in 2008.
RHS has added their own touch to the curriculum to come up with a much needed model for addressing stress and violence and creating, as King would describe, “a beloved community.”
The Peace and Justice Initiative contains four basic components:
- systemic, interdisciplinary Kingian Nonviolence curriculum within academic classes,
- monthly multicultural and diversity events,
- “quiet time” and meditation groups,
- and a Peace and Justice Student Action Committee, a select student body that will study the political side of creating peaceful social change as well as become trained as student mediators.
Each “leg” of the program is meant to reach people where they are. Some may enjoy the academic approach to learning about the Civil Rights Movement and exploring the philosophy of nonviolence. Others may enjoy the monthly celebrations meant to widen our appreciation of various cultures. Others may find that working on creating peace from the inside out through quiet reflection or meditation is a form “becoming the change.” And still others may be more prone to action, jumping right into the nuts and bolts of creating real world changes.
Over the past months students and adults have made great strides with each of the four teaching components and hope to continue to expand on the program, spread the word of the universality of nonviolence as the antidote to the social and political issues of our time, and gather support and resources from like-minded people.
If you have any questions or feel moved in any way to join the swell of a movement devoted to infusing love and compassion into our educational system please contact:
Ronn Desrosiers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Foligno, email@example.com
Leslie Dalenta, firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out how you can help us build a Peace and Justice Library here.
For more information on Kingian Nonviolence and the work that’s being led by the CT Center for Nonviolence please visit www.ctnonviolence.org.
Peace and Justice Now!
The RHS Peace and Justice Alliance