Wednesday, September 12, 2007

MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail and Suicide Watch

We began today with an all-staff suicide watch training. Apparently a bit ago there were a couple of suicide attempts made by a some of the kids here that were not handled quite as they should have been. I'm familiar with some of the warning signs, such as not enjoying any more things a kid used to love. But I have to say, learning that suicide was the 2nd cause of teen deaths was shocking, although perhaps not as shocking as learning that it's 2nd to the leading cause--which is homicide! I ask again: why is there not peace and conflict resolution education, explicitly and unapologetically, in every single school?

When classes did start after the training, we continued reading the amazing and inspirational letter by MLK, written during his time in jail in Birmingham: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The kids were actively discussing, ideas like slavery, just and unjust laws, and civil disobedience. This was especially rewarding since discussion was a bit more like pulling teeth yesterday. I especially loved the observation by one student that hate is really about fear of the unknown.

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