Magazine article Insight on the News

For-Profit PC Workshops Have No Place in Public Schools. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

For-Profit PC Workshops Have No Place in Public Schools. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

Homeschooling is looking more and more like the only sane educational option these days, if the latest news of the weird in our public schools is any indication. The Seattle Times reported in mid-April that nearly 300 students from two middle schools in the Emerald City were subjected to three long days of gut-spilling seminars aimed at "creating a safe school environment free of teasing and harassment."

Principals and teachers traded in phonics for histrionics. Children learned the Oprahfied alphabet: "A" is for apologies, "B" is for blame and "C" is for crying --uncontrollable crying. Kleenex must have made a killing. Here's how the Times reporter described the workshops:

"Sitting in small circles, their knees touching, students shared their own hurt and the pain they had inflicted on others. The tears flowed. In some groups, half the Washington Middle School students were crying at once. Applause followed, as the seventh- and eighth-graders stepped up to roving microphones and declared what they would do to mend broken relationships with their schoolmates. Two boys shook hands after one apologized for making fun of the other and said he hoped to be more supportive.

"A girl owned up to snubbing an old friend. `I'm sorry that I've been very distant and that I've chosen other friends in school' she said. `I'm going to work on that, and I'm going to be a better friend.' The girls embraced."

All bounds of privacy and self-restraint were erased as seminar "facilitators" encouraged their young guinea pigs to confess whether they--or friends or family members--had ever faced addiction problems, sadness over the death of loved ones, guilt over teasing others because of their weight, or thoughts of suicide.

The public sniveling and sniffling ended with a "final exercise--hugging as many people as possible in two minutes, to the theme from Rocky. One child, showing uncommon wisdom, dubbed the dolorous debacle a `psycho-cryfest.'"

This bizarre emotional circus may be coming to an unacceptably dry-eyed classroom near you. Sponsored by a for-profit company called Resource Realizations of Scottsdale, Ariz., and run jointly by a nonprofit organization called Challenge Day, the chief operator of these weeping workshops says he smells a "a huge potential growth area" in the public schools. …

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