Nonviolence at NPH

Mr. & Mrs. Ryan introduce new course to NPHS: Kingian Nonviolence

Sam Loranger, Author

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Kingian Nonviolence is a new course offered at North Providence High School and having it in our school is proving to be very useful. The Ryans ran a three day Kingian Nonviolence training in the spring of the 2018-19 school year where about fifty high school students were trained in what nonviolence is, and how they could use it in the real world. This empowers students of NPH to use their knowledge as a tool to help others. A little less than ten percent of the student body is trained in Kingian Nonviolence meaning at any given point, there is someone there who can help to de-escalate a situation until a member of staff can step in. But having someone there who knows how to sense signs of conflict, is the first step.

“It is a long term solution. This isn’t something that will change the world overnight. Just like anything else, it takes dedication, and effort.”

“By looking at the methods employed by Dr. King and looking at how he uses nonviolence in order to change conditions, we can resist oppression without being nonresistant.” 

The Ryans have taken on the job of mediating conflict in the high school. Since last year, over twenty conflicts that were on the brink of becoming physical, were hashed out by sitting at a table and talking through it. This all happens in the new room called the Center for Peace and Nonviolence, right here at NPHS.

“By letting the two parties come into a room and say what they needed to say, in a controlled environment, we have found that ninety percent of those conflicts are rooted in misinformation,” says Mr. Ryan. “You would have no idea how many times we see two students come into this room mad at eachother and in just a short time of talking, they are hugging, high fiving, or ‘dapping’ each other up by the end of the period.” 

Mrs. Ryan also added that students have to want to mediate their conflicts and be open to it. “Nobody is being forced to come in here and talk about their problems. They have to be open to it, and most students are.” At the end of the day, students do not want to be caught up in real world drama, so having the opportunity to solve their problems in a civil manner, is one most students are going to take.

Mr. and Mrs. Ryan agree that the teachings Dr. King lived by are morals that can be taught to high school students, and even students in lower grades. They believe that students who are motivated to learn and inspired by improving the world they live in, should be taking the time to become educated in Kingian Nonviolence. If you did not get the chance to take the class, there is a training going on right down the street at Rhode Island College. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan will be running the training in coordination with RIC and past students who have a passion for nonviolence. Details and questions regarding any of this can be brought to the attention of Mr. or Mrs. Ryan in person or via email.

“Simply put, conflict is inevitable, so our goal is to support students by giving them pathways to solving conflict in a way that just is not going to make their lives more difficult or more stressful.” said Mr. Ryan.

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