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Spilled secrets in Mutchmor anti-bullying workshop set off ‘domino of tears’
Ottawa Citizen ^ | May 18, 2012 | Matthew Pearson

Posted on 05/18/2012 6:37:35 AM PDT by Loyalist

A session designed to help girls at Mutchmor Public School “recognize their inner voice” drastically went off the rails last week when secrets the girls had written on paper airplanes were read aloud, creating a “domino effect of tears” and prompting the school to send a letter home to parents to explain the debacle.

As part of Education Week, the Glebe elementary school invited a speaker to give an anti-bullying workshop and help students focus “on the tools that they have inside of them.”

There were separate sessions for girls and boys.

Well, there was a session for girls. The boys played basketball and ate sugary Rockets candies.

Almost 60 girls in Grades 4 to 6, meanwhile, were asked during the session to write a secret on a paper airplane and then throw it within the circle of girls. The airplanes were tossed around multiple times to ensure anonymity.

Some of the secrets were then read out, the intent being to “allow girls to recognize that others have similar secrets inside of them.”

And that’s when things went sideways.

According to the letter sent to parents, several girls shared secrets “of a serious nature” with the understanding it would only be read by one person.

These included revelations of witnessing domestic violence at home, having suicidal thoughts and attending what was described as a “naked party,” according to the father of a girl who was present.

Some immediately broke into tears for choosing to share a particular secret, while others cried because they saw a friend in tears. One girl revealed which secret was hers, triggering tears in some other girls who feared their identities would also be revealed.

“A domino effect of tears occurred in the room” at that point, the letter says.

The activity was stopped and a number of teachers and school staff were called in to calm the girls. Those who had written notes of a more serious nature were identified and the school vowed to follow up with parents accordingly, the letter says.

Later in the day, the school organized an hour-long “restorative circle” with all 57 girls who had participated to acknowledge what had happened and how it left some of the girls feeling. Teachers used that opportunity to talk to the girls about appropriate ways to share secrets, reminded them about the Kids’ Help Phone if they don’t feel that they have anyone to turn to, and offered an apology.

The school held a followup session the next day that 15 girls attended.

The letter to parents also says the school has given feedback to the speaker, Monique Howat, about the activity’s affect on some participants.

Howat, the letter says, claimed this is the first time such a reaction has occurred despite giving numerous similar presentations across Ontario.

According to her website, she’s led workshops at a long list of Ontario schools, including others in Ottawa, since 1998.

She did not respond to a request for comment.

The father, who spoke on condition of anonymity, slammed the secret-sharing exercise.

“That’s a private issue and they should never get them to write their secrets down without parents being involved and getting their consent,” he said.

His daughter wrote down an innocuous secret and was not fazed by the episode but, he said, some of her classmates were.

He called the activity “pseudo-psychology” and said teachers and facilitators should have anticipated that some students may share deeply personal secrets.

“To ask somebody to write something down as a secret and expect that none of them will be serious is ridiculous,” he said.

The father also criticized the two-page letter school principal Heather Mace sent home this week, which, in his eyes, offered no clear apology and instead attempted to shift the blame to the speaker and even the girls themselves.

“To me it’s just a cover-your-ass type letter,” he said.

The letter says teachers were aware the secrets would be read aloud, but “there was a lack of clarity for the girls.”

That’s not the girls’ fault, the father said.

“These are pretty smart kids. To say that they didn’t understand, I don’t think so. It’s really up to the teachers to make sure they do understand.”

Mace could not be reached for comment.


TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: antibullying; bullying; poppsychology; publicschools
Another fine mess from the public education system and the anti-bullying campaign, which has probably done more to help bullies while damaging the bullied more than anything else.

I bet more than a few of those girls will be viciously bullied by other girls for what they have exposed of their own lives, just because girls can be especially nasty that way.

1 posted on 05/18/2012 6:37:42 AM PDT by Loyalist
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To: Loyalist
The Female of the Species.
2 posted on 05/18/2012 6:41:04 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Loyalist

Whenever I have a bad day, I remember that things could be worse. I could be back in school.


3 posted on 05/18/2012 6:42:12 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (hViva Christo Rey!)
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To: Loyalist

The best way to stop bullying is to learn some martial arts...

Feminizing boys is not the answer.

And expecting girls not to fight is also against nature.

The left wants docile and compliant people.

Bring back the warriors and shield maidens.


4 posted on 05/18/2012 6:44:37 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood ("Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???")
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To: Loyalist
Those who had written notes of a more serious nature were identified.... [emphasis added]

FAIL

5 posted on 05/18/2012 6:47:16 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Loyalist
The thing I can't understand is how does one "bully" another via Facebook?????
6 posted on 05/18/2012 6:48:16 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Julia: another casualty of the "War on Poverty")
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To: Loyalist

Homeschool.


7 posted on 05/18/2012 6:49:19 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Romney scares me. Obama is the freaking nightmare that is so bad you are afraid to go back to sleep)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood

I’d prefer to close down these insane institutions. Someday people will look back at compulsory schools like the “dark, satanic mills” of the 19th century.


8 posted on 05/18/2012 6:49:48 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (hViva Christo Rey!)
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To: Gay State Conservative

A campaign of exclusion, gossip, slander and insults. You may not call it bullying because it is not physical, but it can make someone’s life hell.

For most of humanity’s time on earth, to be an outcast has meant death.


9 posted on 05/18/2012 6:54:33 AM PDT by heartwood
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To: Gay State Conservative

It can be done. I live in the gay state too. My homeschooled daughter has a handful of pre/early-teen friends in the government schools.

Last year one attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of Tylenol. Another was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for a month, due to depression/anxiety. Both cases were the result of school and Facebook bullying.


10 posted on 05/18/2012 6:56:41 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (hViva Christo Rey!)
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To: heartwood
A campaign of exclusion, gossip, slander and insults. You may not call it bullying because it is not physical, but it can make someone’s life hell.

Isn't that where parents enter the picture? "Yes,sweetheart,it's wrong for them to be saying those things but you'll be OK.Trust me on that".

11 posted on 05/18/2012 6:58:21 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Julia: another casualty of the "War on Poverty")
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To: Loyalist

Hmmm. The New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge survey required kids to reveal a secret in a statewide school survey.

I wonder how often school officials ask kids to reveal secrets?


12 posted on 05/18/2012 6:58:24 AM PDT by DBrow
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To: Loyalist

Just remember, bullying only happens to gays. /s


13 posted on 05/18/2012 6:59:14 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Loyalist

Why do schools imagine they should be ‘therapists’? How about; teaching the ‘basics’ and getting on with their day. If there are problems; address them privately and specifically. Good Grief. . .who can trust the Gov - for group counseling?


14 posted on 05/18/2012 6:59:29 AM PDT by cricket (Calling Marco Rubio; Allen West. . .because they are NOT afraid. And neither was/is Newt. . .)
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To: Loyalist
Another fine mess from the public education system and the anti-bullying campaign

Yep. I spent quite a few years as an urban public school teacher, and I never saw a single anti-bullying campaign that worked. Not even one.

While it's tempting to say the solution is to encourage the victim to fight back, that's tough to do when it's three or four against one.

IMHO, the solution is to force the schools to treat bullying not as some kind of prank, but as a crime.

But seeing as how the public schools are usually too gutless to do that, perhaps the only solution is charter schools.

15 posted on 05/18/2012 7:03:02 AM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I carrying this lantern? you ask. I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: cricket

“Why do schools imagine they should be ‘therapists’?”

I’ve heard from several parents that it’s common for a teacher to show really shocking video, then proceed with some other lesson.

Like the scene in Amistad where someone is being whipped to death as a mother commits suicide with her baby, then turning off the projector and giving a lesson in American history. Or scenes from Schindler’s List.

They still show Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 911, and Supersize Me and some video about meat farming designed to turn kids into vegans. Oh and Inconvenient Truth.

That goes beyond therapy and into what was called “brainwashing” in 1954. It’s called teaching now.


16 posted on 05/18/2012 7:05:15 AM PDT by DBrow
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To: cricket

——Why do schools imagine they should be ‘therapists’?——

That’s what B.S. Ed.’s are all about, Charlie Brown. Behavioral psychology. Stimulus, response. Reinforcement schedules.

I know. I read my sister’s (teacher college) textbooks.

It’s been that way for the last 100 years. Behavioral psychology, or as I prefer to call it, animal training, has dominated the nation’s leading teachers college (Columbia) for at least 100 years.


17 posted on 05/18/2012 7:10:41 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (hViva Christo Rey!)
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To: netmilsmom

...either that or bring back the nuns of my childhood who would have broken a few skulls before this mess ever got started!


18 posted on 05/18/2012 7:20:33 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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Does any of this sound familiar?:

Editor’s Preview: There has been much talk of a crisis in education and much speculation as to what or who is to blame for the mediocrity in our schools. Professor Samuel Blumenfeld offers a clear and convincing explanation of how the goals of the professional educator have changed and have thus adversely affected the quality and content of education.

He focuses particularly on the Progressive theorists James McKeen Cattell, John Dewey, and Edward Thorndike, who, around the turn of the century, were heavily influenced by the new behaviorial psychology of Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig in Germany. His American converts proposed that the proper aims of education were not ethical, as Plato and Aristotle suggested, or meant to encourage what Cardinal Newman called “a philosophical habit of mind,” but to teach “social skills,” and to ensure that students will “fit” into society. As pioneers in psychology and educational philosophy, Blumenfeld states that these men virtually rebuilt education on a foundation of science, evolution, humanism, and behaviorism. Their work remains virtually uncontested in many universities today.

New theories of learning were developed to accommodate their vision. Children, they claimed, are ideally taught by the method of stimulus and response. The attainment of literacy was deliberately de-emphasized in favor of acquiring social skills. In Dewey’s words, “learning to read in early school life because of the great importance attached to literature seems to me a great perversion.” He argued that a high literacy rate bred a “destructive” individualism.

https://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=1985&month=09

There is a method to the madness.


19 posted on 05/18/2012 7:22:40 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (hViva Christo Rey!)
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To: Loyalist
the school organized an hour-long “restorative circle” . . .

Modeled on the Inferno, perhaps?

20 posted on 05/18/2012 7:28:26 AM PDT by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: Loyalist

Feeeeelings, whoa whoa whoa feeeeelings. What the heck did they expect would happen? Stupid adults.


21 posted on 05/18/2012 7:36:58 AM PDT by Conservative4Ever (Waiting for the new tagline to download)
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To: Loyalist
So called bulling is human nature, as a matter of fact bulling is the very foundation of government. So all this anti-bulling stuff is really the establishments attempt to eliminate any competition.
22 posted on 05/18/2012 7:56:18 AM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: Loyalist
the anti-bullying campaign, which has probably done more to help bullies while damaging the bullied more than anything else.

It's not about stopping the bullies. It's about tranferring the bully's power to the state.

The old fashioned method for dealing with bullies is still the best. Someone needs to beat the snot out of them. This applies to gubment bullies as well.

23 posted on 05/18/2012 7:59:06 AM PDT by Drill Thrawl (The United States of America, a banana republic since 1913)
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To: Loyalist

Am I the only one who thinks that asking children to reveal secrets is bullying in and of itself?
Am I the only one who thinks the “educators” are snooping for cases of abuse, preferably sexual, that they can report to puff up there their own “savior” egos? And to discover who owns guns?
There seems to be an epidemic of “revealing secrets” in the public schools.


24 posted on 05/18/2012 7:59:51 AM PDT by Wiser now (Socialism does not eliminate poverty, it guarantees it.)
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To: Loyalist

Sounds like it might have been modeled on the self-denunciations practiced during the ‘cultural revolution’ in Red China.


25 posted on 05/18/2012 8:01:03 AM PDT by PAR35
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To: Loyalist

I was bullied too. Kicked one guys ass and told the others to get in line. Most bullies are cowards (and lousy fighters) that will back down when stood up to.


26 posted on 05/18/2012 8:12:10 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: DBrow

“I wonder how often school officials ask kids to reveal secrets?”

It wouldn’t surprise me if they did it all the time. One of the purposes of state schools is to usurp the loyalty of the children to their parents, and turn the children into little informers for the state in every home.


27 posted on 05/18/2012 8:19:03 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman

This sounds exactly like the things Communists did during “Year Zero” Kampuchea or during Mao’s reign in China.

Public confession, self-denunciation and separating the child from his/her family. All part of Communism 101.

This was child abuse, by the State, for the State.


28 posted on 05/18/2012 9:10:42 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: DBrow
That goes beyond therapy and into what was called “brainwashing” in 1954. It’s called teaching now.

So outrageously pathetic in it's truth.

Certainly familiar with Gov brainwashing efforts while children in their grasp; but not some of those you mention. Interesting - and horrible.

So many subtle ways. . .

29 posted on 05/18/2012 1:16:16 PM PDT by cricket (Calling Marco Rubio; Allen West. . .because they are NOT afraid. And neither was/is Newt. . .)
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To: agere_contra

Yes, they did it in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union too. Same ****, different commies.


30 posted on 05/18/2012 5:20:41 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: fella

Yes, you’re right, but it’s also true that they are using this “anti-bully” campaign to bash, marginalize, and stigmatize sexually normative folks who have a natural revulsion to perversion. In effect, they are using the “anti-bully” campaign to bully people that don’t agree with them.


31 posted on 05/18/2012 5:24:54 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Gay State Conservative
Exactly! Today's children are PANDERED to and put on a pedestal. Today's twelve is yesterday's TWO mentally and emotionally. Although today's twelve is also yesterday's 22 when it comes to dress and attitude--I call it "adult spousal status."

There's no such thing as "stiff upper lip" anymore or "sticks and stones." Everyone runs around looking to be easily insulted when one's fee fees are hurt, trying to find the next lawsuit. This is the fake-o self-esteem movement that came out of the eighties going horribly, horribly wrong. Everyone's a winner; everyone is going to be kind, respectful and nicey nice. It just ain't so and the sooner kids get "toughened up" the BETTER!

32 posted on 05/24/2012 10:21:51 AM PDT by AbolishCSEU (Percentage of Income in CS is inversely proportionate to Mother's parenting of children)
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