The game is called “Cross the Line” and many outraged parents believe that it does just that.
A middle school in Marinette, Wisconsin got a group of 5th-8th graders together and organized a really fun game that asked students to step forward to answer “yes” to a series of highly personal questions. Questions like…
Do your parents drink?
Do you cut yourself?
Has anyone in your family been to jail?
Have you ever wanted to commit suicide?
Do you or your parents do drugs?
Unbelievably, school administrators believed that this “game” would help the kids to be better and kinder friends. “The intent of this activity was to build stronger, more respectful relationships among students,” said Principal Shawn Limberg. The “game” was part of an anti-bullying program.
Of course, Limberg also said the “game” was completely voluntary, an assertion that was disputed by one young girl who told her mother she’d have to go to in-school suspension if she didn’t participate.
Several parents voiced their concerns and had them brushed off. Amanda Fifarek, mother of a 7th grade student, told FOX 11, “They basically told us that all the students were lying…all the students got together and planned it out and if they weren’t lying, it was all misperceptions. They didn’t specifically say do your parents do drugs.”
Of course. We all know those silly children must have just misunderstood the whole thing.
Here’s the report from the local Fox station:
Reading between the lines, it doesn’t look as though Marinette Middle School was duly chastised. It sounds like they every intention of playing the “game” again. According to a Yahoo news report, “Principal Limberg said they will let parents know the next time they plan on playing this game.”
I think we can all see how easily this could go sideways. This collection of information from unwitting children could be used to instigate social services investigations, to find out which parents are using their 2nd amendment right to own firearms, whether they’ve complied with Obamacare, what their lifestyle choices are, how they practice their religious beliefs, what the family’s political beliefs are, or to single out kids for forced medical or mental health treatment against the wishes of their parents. We need only look at all of the zero tolerance hysteria to see how quickly this could get out of hand.
Most kids don’t understand the greater ramifications of sharing this type of information, and that is exactly what the administrators are counting on. They are taking advantage of a relationship of trust between students and faculty, and exploiting that for their own purposes. So many things are illegal or illicit now that it’s impossible for a child to judge whether what he or she is saying will get someone into trouble.
If your children attend public schools, it is vital that you discuss things like this with them and teach them about privacy. Schools abound with innocent-seeming activities like “quizzes” and “games” that are just digging expeditions into a child’s home life. Teach your children to politely refuse to participate in activities like this, despite threats of punishment. Let your child know to insist that the school phone you, and that you will back them up for refusing to divulge private information.
Then, let the school fear the wrath of mom and dad. If we don’t teach our kids to resist by example, then how will they ever learn to do what’s right in the face of threats from perceived authority figures?
Some of those questions are very inappropriate. And it sounds like, by saying all the kids were lying or just misunderstood, the school was lying. I hope this gets looked into.
If I had kids, I would have them carry a signed note from me, at all times, instructing teachers to call me if there was anything that my children felt was objectionable.
Schools are not permitted to teach anything outside of the standard curriculum without parental consent. A field trip even requires a consent slip be signed before a student attends. Parents should be contacting the school district and filing a complaint that permission slips were not sent home outlining the rules of this ‘game’ which provides a parent with informed consent and choice to opt their child out, if they so chose.
Where is the gal who recently posted that we homeschooling families “were hiding and cringing from Mad Uncle Sam”? I wonder how many stories such as this does she have to hear before she too cringes. These poor children are exactly where the government wants them.
To some folks we homeschooling families may be backward, rural, old-fashion people, but we know child abuse when we see it.
There’s nothing backward about homeschooling…quite the opposite really. This article is proof positive that we’ve chosen the correct path with home education. However, for all the public school families, this article proves there are kids out there who trust their parents enough to tell them what’s going on at school! See something, say something works both ways.
Oh yes. Called Challenge Day in our school district. Of course I signed the consent form – a full day out of classes to ‘bond’ with middle school classmates. We were new to the area and my kid didn’t know anyone.
Daisy…please check your inbox! Thank you!
I can’t praise this article enough even though I am not a US citizen. I am from the United Kingdom and have a sincere love for the US. PLease tell every American citizen to wake up from the comma.
I’m watching the Spiritual, Political, Economic, Social climate and it is Inevitable that a severe Global heart rupturing storm of truly Biblical Proportion is nearly upon us. The Good Lord Jesus Bless America and all Nations. Respect Your Soul before your Body.
We who are in Christ Salute you!!
Paul, do you live in the USA?
We will claim you! We need more Christian citizens like you.
I live in a town in the same county (different school district, thank GOD), and I first learned about this incident from your blog post … so first, THANKS. Guess that cutting off the television means I’m a little behind on local news, but apparently it aired here a few days before. So … what to think? If this were in a larger town, I might be more worried that it was a statewide policy. In Marinette county, however, the intelligence of school administrators, and the general quality of the school system, suggests they may just have been dumb enough to hire a consultant to run an anti-bullying program, and were oblivious to the intrusive nature of the questions beforehand. Please understand I am NOT diminishing the potential seriousness of what occurred … it was outrageous. The thing is, anyone with any common sense living in Marinette chooses to send their kids to Peshtigo schools, and this has occurred for decades. There is a great policy in WI called “open enrollment.” While in other states, transferring your child to another school district is a costly and difficult endeavor, in WI we are allowed, each february, to choose to send our child to an out of district school at no expense (the only extra expense being transporting our child to another school outside of the local bus route). And Marinette schools have been broken for a LONG time. However, while I would like to think this is just another illustration of their incompetence, there is also the very real possibility that this program was being BETA TESTED at this particular, low profile school, in the hopes that what they were doing wouldn’t get much publicity in this generally poverty-level area (approx. 70% of students get free lunches, an indicator of economic status of a county). Because of the nature of the population here, many kids DO have alcoholic parents, parents in jail, etc. — but not sure how sharing this information is supposed to PREVENT bullying??? On the contrary, the kids from such homes will merely be MORE marginalized by the children who are more fortunate. Thanks to efforts like yours, this story DID get out, and parents in the smaller towns surrounding Marinette have been talking with their children, saying that if anything like this occurs at their school, they should not participate and should instead take the in school suspension. If I hear anything more about what occurred, etc. (and I’ll try to keep my ears open, check with a few people who live in town), I’ll pass on any additional info I can uncover.
Yet one more reason to homeschool your children.