Can anti-bullying activity “Cross the Line” be effective?

GREEN BAY – Thousands of schools all across the country have participated in a variety of anti-bullying programs.

Last week Marinette Middle School held an activity called “Cross the Line” where specific questions were asked, and if students agreed, they stepped forward.

Some of the questions included cross the line if you enjoy sports or school or flown on an airplane while others involved topics on alcohol, drug abuse, or hurting yourself.

Psychotherapist Brad Bordini of Bellin Behavioral Health said a person can be bullied for a variety of reasons and an open discussion could lead to more conversation.

“Even if bullying starts because of disclosure, it’s still a reason. It’s still existing; it still needs to be dealt with. It’s the responsibility of the facility, if we’re talking about school, to support that process. In other words, provide extra support for them so that if there are repercussions or even positives that come from it, it’s supported all the way through the system,” said Bordini.

Bordini said students can handle questions that might seem difficult from an adult’s point of view.

“Often times we don’t give them enough credit. I think that children in a 5th grade, 6th/7th grade are very much deep thinkers and their brains are developing enough where they can go into analytical thought,” Bordini said.

Ann Kramer said her 13-year-old son had a positive experience after participating in the “Cross the Line” activity at Marinette Middle School.

“My son came home with a different perspective on things that his classmates go through. He came home and made a public apology on social media to anybody that he might have injured or caused problems to with any words that he might have said,” said Kramer.

Kristen Edgar said her 10-year-old daughter had a different perspective.

“She came home and she said. ‘Mom, I can’t believe how many girls that are actually thin stood up and said they’d look better if they lost weight and I can’t believe how many kids stepped forward and said they didn’t like what they saw in the mirror.’ I mean, children shouldn’t be even thinking about those things and they shouldn’t be asked about stuff like that,” said Edgar.

Nearly 40 people still upset with the activity have started a Facebook group. Some members of the group said the school didn’t released all of the questions that were asked.

In a statement from the middle school principal Shawn Limberg, he said, “The questions that were used for the activity are posted on the school’s website along with the letter that was sent home with parents on Monday and those are the questions that were asked. “

Some parents said they plan on attending a school board meeting on February 18 to discuss the “Cross the Line” activity.

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