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'Kindness and Justice Challenge' keeps King's spirit alive in schools

Students at Murphy Candler Elementary learn moral courage through King's example   
January 19, 1998
Web posted at: 11:46 a.m. EDT (1146 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- In the run-up to Martin Luther King Day, more than 12,000 educators and thousands of students across the nation have been involved in a two-week program aimed at building character through action in the spirit of the famous civil rights leader.

Murphy Candler Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia, was one of the schools that adopted the program, called The National Kindness and Justice Challenge.

The staff at the school said the main goal is to learn about the civil rights leader's commitment to justice and moral righteousness.

"Boys and girls: 'Moral courage' is knowing what to do and how to do something, even it is difficult," a teacher told the students.

CNN's Loretta Lepore reports
icon 1 min., 46 sec. VXtreme streaming video

Principal Debby Loeb said the program gave the children a chance to take what they've learned outside the classroom.

"I've been doing acts of kindness for others and hoping they would show me kindness back," said young student Kristin Askew. "I helped an old lady cross the street and I took her to the store with my mom."

The National Kindness and Justice Challenge, pioneered in 1994 by students and teachers in Newark, New Jersey, involves dozens of national educational and service organizations. These organizations provide schools with an education curriculum that encourages all students to do acts of kindness and justice.

Correspondent Loretta Lepore contributed to this report.


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