by DK Holland
Do you know a kid who risks being expelled from school for bad behavior? Or a child who has been bullied in school? These children and their classmates need to be heard, to heal. They need to stay in school and feel safe. This is part of the work of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.
Monica and I were asked to meet with the Morningside staff today – at their offices in the monolithic building affectionately known as The God Box (The Interfaith Center) near Columbia University. They wanted to talk about how to expand their K-12 restorative circles program by renaming and repositioning it more clearly. Morningside Center is the national leader in this very important area, and working with many New York City schools.
Morningside Center shows teachers how to create restorative circles with their students: By helping to create trust and respect. By developing, nurturing social emotional intelligence and healthy dialog. “It looks easy when you see it,” Laura McClure, communications coordinator, says, “but done well, it’s very complex.”
That Morningside Center is in the Interfaith building is no accident. Interfaith’s filled with organizations and people living their values. Even though it's a large building, the feeling of peace is palpable: I wanted to visit the ladies' room which is shared by all the offices on the floor so I asked for the code or key that I figured I needed to open the door which is typical in shared restrooms. There was none I was told. How refreshing I thought. They have faith, that people can be trusted. How refreshing – that they don’t live in fear.