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?