Kingian Nonviolence Schools’ Certification

Monday, 27 September 2021

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Ms. Aline Alam, Head of the Maths Department at BHS, was selected by Nonviolent Schools Rhode Island, USA as a fully-supported scholarship candidate to attend the 2021 Summer Level 1 Kingian Nonviolence certification training.

The training took 18 hours online in August 2021, and was provided to just 35 participants worldwide. 

Level 1 certification training was designed by Bernard LaFayette Jr. and David Jehnsen, based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work during the civil rights movement from 1955-1968. The goals of Level 1 certification are to deepen the knowledge of leaders in education about Kingian Nonviolence, and to solidify skills to reconcile conflicts, and have the ability to teach the Kingian Nonviolence curriculum to others.

Below is a brief overview.


The 6 Principles are values that guide a practitioner of Kingian Nonviolence. The Principles set this curriculum apart from conflict resolution and anti-bullying programs because the Principles provide us with a framework of how to live life, and can help us teach students WHY being respectful, kind, and caring of others can help us create a Peaceful Community if we try to live by them.

Background Information about the 6 Principles

Dr. King wrote a book called Stride Toward Freedom, after he led the successful nonviolent campaign to end bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955-1956. In the book’s chapter entitled “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” he described his personal journey to develop his own philosophy of Nonviolence, which began when he was in his early teens and living in segregated Atlanta, Georgia. The journey continued when, as a fifteen-year-old, he entered Morehouse College and read Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience. It was his first exposure to the idea of nonviolent resistance. Later, as a student at Crozer Theological Seminary, he continued to research the works of social philosophers. During his quest for knowledge, he realized that even if he disagreed with some of the philosophers’ ideas, he could find some points to agree with. While at Crozer, Martin King became fascinated with Mohandas Gandhi and his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. The most profound idea he learned from Gandhi was that nonviolent resistance, combined with love for one’s enemies, was the most powerful force for social change. Martin King later attended Boston University as a doctoral candidate, and furthered his study of social philosophers. He concluded that he had acquired an intellectual understanding of nonviolent resistance, yet did not have the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice until the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” Dr. King outlined his philosophy of Nonviolence in the form of 6 Principles. The following quotes are taken from Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco: Harper, 1958, Chapter 6-Pilgrimage to Nonviolence

NOTE: The 6 Principles, written in bold print below, were extracted from “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” by Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and David Jehnsen.

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

“Nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist…The method is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually…no individual or group need submit to anything wrong, nor need they use violence to right the wrong; there is the way of nonviolence resistance.”

  1. The Beloved Community is the framework for the future.

“Nonviolence…does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding…The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.”

  1. Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil.

“If he is opposing racial injustice, the nonviolent resister has the vision to see that the basic tension is not between races…the tension is, at bottom, between justice and injustice…We are out to defeat injustice and not white persons who may be unjust.”

  1. Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal.

“Suffering, the nonviolent resister realizes, has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.” King quotes Gandhi, “Suffering is infinitely more powerful than the law of the jungle for converting the opponent and opening his ears which are otherwise shut to the voice of reason.”

  1. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence.

“The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. King wrote about agape (ah-gah-pay), a Greek word for love, meaning “understanding, redeeming good will for all men…It is love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people…it begins by loving others for their sakes…Agape is love in action.

Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community. It is the willingness to forgive, not seven times, but seventy times seven to restore community. Agape is the willingness to go to any length to restore community.

  1. The universe is on the side of justice.

“The believer in nonviolence has deep faith in the future. This faith is another reason why the nonviolent resister can accept suffering without retaliation…It is true that there are devout believers in nonviolence who find it difficult to believe in a personal God. But even these persons believe in the existence of some creative force that works for universal wholeness…there is a creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole.”

In a Kingian classroom and school, the 6 Principles are the framework for creating a Peaceful Community. Referring to them often will help students understand what they mean and how our behavior can be guided by each of them.

Some of Dr. King’s Principles have been reworded for the purpose of teaching them to young people, however, the meaning of each remains the same.

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  2. The Peaceful Community is the goal for the future.
  3. Attack problems, not people.
  4. Know and do what is right, even if it is difficult.
  5. Avoid hurting the spirit and body of yourself and others.
  6. The universe is on the side of justice.

The 6 Principles should be referred to throughout the Nonviolence education of young people. Teachers who frequently connect the Principles to content they teach and to conflicts that occur in the classroom notice that students will begin to internalize them. The Principles help students and teachers form an interconnected community within their classrooms. Teachers can also show students how the Principles connect to school rules through discussions and examples.