According to a report by A.P. Dillon, parents in Wake County, North Carolina are fighting back against a questionable new “group therapy” circle time exercise taking place in county schools.
Every Monday, students sit or stand in a circle with their teachers for 30 minutes to share their thoughts on a given topic as the “talking piece” is passed around the group.
Parents of students at Apex Middle School reportedly told Dillon that they only discovered that their children were participating in these sessions at school when their children mentioned their discomfort with the practice later on. One individual who contacted Dillon reportedly called the circle time activity “emo-creepy” and an “invasive social experiment using minor children as guinea pigs.”
Dillon also reported that a student’s ability to opt-out of the exercise was not made clear to students or their parents.
In a letter to the principal of Apex Middle School, attorney B. Tyler Brooks argued that circle time “effectively compels the disclosure of highly sensitive and personal information from students,” including:
What it means to “listen from [and] speak from the heart;”
Describing times the student sits in a “circle” at home;
Describing how the student “feels” at the moment;
Answering, “If you were a kind of weather today, what would the weather be?”;
What it feels like to be “bullied;”
Talking about a “high point” and a “low point” in the student’s past week;
Describing “friendship” for the student;
Aspirations for who the student wishes to be;
Describing the student’s family; and
Experiences of being “hurt” and angry.”
“These are not academic topics,” Brooks continues in his letter on behalf of Parents For the Protection of Students, demanding that the activities cease. “They are topics for a group therapy session. Group therapy, like other forms of traditional psychological treatment and counseling, can bring great benefit to many people. But, it is not within the purview of a school to conduct such treatment during the school day, without parental consent, and outside of the supervision of duly-trained and licensed psychological and counseling professionals.”
Brooks went on to cite North Carolina law regarding the practice of psychology by unqualified individuals, emphasizing that it “endangers public health, safety, and welfare.”
“We are definitely curious as to why these group therapy sessions should take time away from instruction in traditional topics like mathematics, science, literature, foreign languages, history, art, and music,” Brooks continued. “Even more importantly, though, we can also only imagine the emotional damage that could result if a student shared a private fact about herself or family in ‘the Circle’ (e.g., questions of sexuality or a troubled homelife)—having been led to believe that the disclosure was safe and protected—only to then see that same information become fodder for middle school gossip. This detracts from, rather than enhances, the ability of students to learn.”
“Lest the school system need yet another reminder, the law is clear: ‘The child is not the mere creature of the State,’” Brooks boldly declared.
Proponents of circle time argue that the exercise brings an element of empathy and community to the classroom.
The circle time activity is a part of “social and emotional learning” (SEL), a practice that has infected innumerable schools in America, usurping the parents’ role of teaching children values and worldviews, all while academics descend into embarrassing mediocrity.
A study by The Pioneer Institute characterized SEL as “amateur, unqualified psychoanalysis.”
“It’s one thing to direct your own moral, ethical, and emotional development or that of your children,” said Jane Robbins, co-author of Social-Emotional Learning: K-12 Education as New-Age Nanny State. “But having a government vendor or unqualified public school officials implement an SEL curriculum based on coffee-table psychology is quite another.”
The state and its schools do not own our children, though they sure seem to believe they do. Our children belong to God and are entrusted to us, their parents. When we outsource the education component of raising up our children, we must draw a clear line at the point where the school’s privilege ends and our authority begins.
If the school does not respect where we have drawn that line, are we prepared to stand up for our children and take their education into our own hands?
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