Questionable school intervention


My 8th grader was absent last week from school. When she returned Monday morning, her classmates ran up to her and told her that a meeting had been held to discuss her good points and bad points and her overall integration into her class. Her peers were apparently told to keep the meeting confidential and were all expected to participate. She is hurt both because she felt the  coordinator who facilitated the meeting betrayed her, and of course while lots of positive things were said, she now knows who said negative things, such as “egocentric”, “selfish” etc which has affected her relationships. She didn’t want to go to school this week. The school claims it was a legitimate intervention called “Circle is Friends” and the coordinator refuses to apologize for damage done. Shouldn’t they have had my daughter’s consent at the least and ours as parents? I feel very angry. 
Thank you!!

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Simply going on what you've described, as an adult== not a fragile teen-- I would feel awful being told that some of my peers got together to discuss me--in secret.   Your daughter was absent, is that why they chose her?  That this group was formed for this purpose and headed up by a "coordinator"--is particularly upsetting.  I'm very sorry this happened to your daughter--and that it is an ongoing practice. Please investigate more.  Talk to the principal, go before the school board.  Gawd

This is nothing short of INSANE.  At the very least, I'd be in the principal's office having a very, very serious discussion.  At most, I'd be investigating legal options to ensure this never happened to any child ever again.  That would include removing people from jobs and ensuring they never worked with children again. 

I think this is not an intervention and think you should speak to the school administrators and place a formal complaint. 

This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Incompetent, ridiculous, illegitimate: totally indefensible.  There isn’t a context that would remotely justify a teacher-led, mandatory, behind-the-back, secret gossip sesh about an absent student.  And this is the least of the problems with this story, but any teacher who believes “confidentiality” can be assured among eighth graders should have their credential revoked.  I’d change schools and name the school in forums like this so other people can avoid it. Don’t make your daughter put up with these people anymore.

This sounds bizarre and terrible.  An intervention is usually held with the person present, not when they are absent.  This sounds less like an intervention and more like a secret meeting where everyone just talks about and judges your daughter.  I'd go over the head of whoever was in charge until you and your daughter get an apology and this practice stops.  It's teaching the kids that it's ok to judge people and talk about them behind their backs- totally inappropriate for school children to be taught this by their teachers.  

Sounds highly questionable.

The adult in question here does not appear to understand what Circle of Friends is.

You can read up about it in various places:

Without the "focus child" present this actually appears to be bullying in my opinion.

Report this to everyone you can think of. File a complaint. Contact the school board.

Wow, I would be so upset by this. I'm so sorry your daughter had to experience this.

Oh god, no.  I am guessing this is a private school?  If so, frankly, they can do whatever they want. If it were me, I would think seriously if I wanted me kid to continue there.  Not only because of the questionable judgement but also because of their lack of willingness to hear your concerns. 

This strikes me as an incredibly tone-deaf activity (especially for middle schoolers!) unless it were to be handled very carefully which would, of course, include your and her knowledge and consent.  Also, this is a new activity, if she has never been a part of the circle herself (talking about another student) right?  If so, they would especially need to take care with this.

Yeah, this is a no and a no from me.  And I am in the field of education, FWIW.

That sounds really "off" to me. I'd be angry too. Yuck! Definitely would make some noise on this one!

I don't have any advice, but I'd be very angry too - it sounds like someone with very little sensitivity to young teens read a pop psychology book and tried out a sloppy interpretation on your daughter.  She has my sympathy.  My daughter had a difficult time in 8th grade and would have been very upset at this. 

What the heck school does your daughter go to?  Yes, that is very weird and unacceptable.  In fact so obviously so that it's hard to imagine this happening outside of a teen television show.  Honestly, I would go crazy on school administration (including the board because this has to be some private school).