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February 24, 2017

Baltimore program hopes to overcome violence with mindfulness

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  • Schools in Baltimore, Maryland are experimenting with meditation as a way to help students deal with the stress and trauma associated with high levels of poverty and violence in the area.
  • At Patterson High School, a nonprofit called Holistic Life Foundation has established the Mindful Moments Room as a place students can retreat to when they feel stressed or angry.
  • By practicing mindfulness, students learn to avoid conflict and negative influences through stepping away from tense situations and reflecting inward, instead of letting things escalate.
  • Patterson High Principal Vance Benton sees mindfulness as a way to save lives by teaching students how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence and says fights in school have gone down.
  • Third and fourth grade students at Coleman Elementary also practice yoga and meditation, and Principal Carlillian Thompson said she has also noticed improvements in behavior.

Class discussion questions 
  1. Essential question: What does it mean to be mindful?
  2. What kinds of factors outside of school can cause students to feel stressed and act out?
  3. Do you think practicing mindfulness has applications outside of school? Explain your answer.
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