Students Focused on ‘Breaking the Cycle’

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John W. Dodd Middle School held a special assembly devoted to “Breaking the Cycle” of violence and hate through forgiveness and by making wise choices.

The assembly, planned by Principal Johane Ligondé, Assistant Principal Danielle Ballard and social worker Felice Niland, was sponsored by Ian Winter and Janet Winter and the Bruderhof Community as part of their outreach program designed to help students better understand non-violent ways to resolve conflicts.    

Hashim Garrett, one of three guest speakers, told students, “The tongue is one of the smallest muscles in the body, but it can do the most damage.” Johann Christoph Arnold, a civil rights activist and author who has dedicated his life to peace and non-violence, and retired police chief Charles Williams, who spoke of his own recovery from emotional pain through forgiveness, were the other two speakers in the program.

Students were given a copy of of Arnold’s book “Why Forgive?” which opens with a forward by New York Police Department Detective Steven McDonald, a plainclothes officer injured in the line of duty 27 years ago, and includes a chapter that details Garrett’s story.