Do you know about Challenge Day? If not, you may want to find out if your child’s school is hosting this intrusive, emotionally manipulative, Oprah-endorsed program that promises to provide schools and communities with “experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression.” Challenge Day claims the program has been presented to a million students in 400 cities in 47 states.
By “full expression” they mean confession, lots of hugs and physical contact, and tears — the weeping and gnashing of teeth kind of tears.
The “Be the Change School Guide for Creating the School of Your Dreams” has high hopes for the program — world peace: “With the ever growing increase of violence and oppression in our schools and on our planet, we believe a commitment to these simple principles can actually create peace on earth.” They attempt to accomplish that by addressing issues they believe are common in schools, including “cliques, gossip, rumors, negative judgments, teasing, harassment, isolation, stereotypes, intolerance, racism, sexism, bullying, violence, homophobia, hopelessness, apathy, and hidden pressures to create an image, achieve or live up to the expectations of others.”
Schools pay $3200 (plus travel expenses) to bring the Challenge Day program, which was the subject of the MTV series, If You Really Knew Me, to their students.
Permission slips warn parents that “students can and often do share personal difficulties and experiences with the group” and the experience can be “emotional.”
Participants are confined to a room for 6 1/2 hours during the school day. Challenge Day heavily regulates the environment. Everything from the room size, to the temperature of the room, to the windows (must be covered), to the chairs (no arm rests), is controlled. Challenge Day even dictates the number and size of tissue boxes schools must provide.