SCS staff, students participate in MLK-inspired non-violence training

SCS staff, students participate in MLK-inspired non-violence training

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Non-violence training is underway for faculty and staff in Shelby County Schools, based on the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The training comes as Memphis will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination next year.

Wednesday, teachers and students at Airways Achievement Academy acted out scenes from the Civil Rights Movement, but it wasn't for a history class. The presentations were instead an activity to educate all on ways to peacefully resolve conflict.

"You can walk in another man's shoes and understand his viewpoint. Even though yours may be different, we can still come to common ground," Airways Achievement Academy principal Billy Walker said.

Nearly three dozen SCS professionals from a variety of roles are undergoing two weeks of Kingian non-violence training. They will present what they've learned to other staff members and then to students in an ongoing SCS initiative.

"In most school settings, they deal a lot with bullying, which we consider to be a form of violence," said John T. Jones, Jr, Executive Director of the Florida MLK Institute for Non-violence.

The district hopes teaching principles like non-violence are courageous will lead to students thinking in different ways about how they should act in class and the community.

"We've got a chance to change the behavior of students, and we start changing students we change communities over time," said Dr. Randy McPherson, Manager of Student Behavior and Leadership.

Though the training and its rollout weren't planned to coincide with MLK50, all agree the framework and its message are pertinent, especially in the community where Dr. King took his final breath.

"The message for this community is love will always overcome hate," said Jones.

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