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Parents say ‘kindness workshop’ went too far at middle school

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ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. – Some parents of middle school students in Pennsylvania say an anti-bullying workshop went too far.

Administrators say the “kindness workshop” was to promote acceptance and tolerance, but parents say it crossed a line.

School officials told WPXI that students were given a variety of questions to answer so they could “become aware of others’ experiences and their role of being supporters to one another.”

During one of the exercises, the students were given masks and asked questions including whether their parents went to college, whether someone close to them has been imprisoned and whether their families ever worried about not having enough money.

If the student answered yes, they were asked to move toward the center of the circle.

“All they did was give the bullies more ammunition,” said Marie-Noelle Briggs. “I would never expect a middle school to ask 13-year-old kids if your parents have ever been in jail, if they’re same-sex, if they’re having financial issues. Why would my 13-year-old son know any of this?”

School officials say students were given the option to opt out of the workshop. However, parents say they did not know about the nature of the questions beforehand.