Wadded-up tissues littered Rishel Middle School's gym floor as tough teenagers sobbed, hugged their peers and told gut-wrenching stories about their lives during an all-day session intended to break down barriers.
Well, if it was featured on Oprah . . .
One 13-year-old said he was abandoned by his parents and that he lies awake at night scared by sounds of gunshots outside his window.
A 15-year-old girl talked about attempting suicide and urged anyone with similar thoughts to reach out for help.
And a teacher tearfully warned students about their actions by revealing he was a bully when he was younger - until the person he tormented tried to kill himself. . . .
The confessions were shared Wednesday as part of "Challenge Day," a nationally recognized anti-bullying program that travels to schools around the country.
The program, which was featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," was brought to Denver Public Schools this week as part of the district's mission to change cultures inside the schools. Sessions were held at Rishel and the Denver School of the Arts.
Go White Power!, with initial caps. Oprah, come quickly! Denver needs you!
Angelina Sierra-Sandoval loves going to Holy Family High School, just like her mom did 17 years ago.
But the sophomore was stunned this week when her Spanish II class turned into a heated discussion about Mexican immigrants, with at least one classmate blurting out, "White Power!" two or three times. The incident came at the outset of class Tuesday, when one student complained about having to learn Spanish. Sierra-Sandoval said the teacher responded that it could be a useful job skill to be bilingual. . . .
Sierra-Sandoval said one student joked that maybe they should move to Canada since Mexicans were taking over the United States.
That's when another student yelled, "Go White Power!" the girl said.
As she stepped to the microphone for her commencement speech last spring, Erica Corder knew that what she was about to say might ruffle some feathers. . . .
"I really felt God calling me to do this," Corder said Thursday. "My top priority is obeying God."
So Erica Corder thanked all the teachers, parents and peers in the crowd for their encouragement throughout the years.
Then, deviating from the 30-second speech that had been approved by the principal, she began speaking about "someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine."
"His name is Jesus Christ," Corder said. "If you don't already know him personally, I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you."
The controversy was immediate. Parents and students - including some of her fellow valedictorians - complained that Corder had been proselytizing and that her comments were inappropriate. She also took heat from school officials for deviating from the approved script.
Before she was granted her diploma, Corder was required to apologize in an e-mail to the entire school community.
Now Corder is fighting back.
An elementary school has banned tag on its playground after some children complained they were harassed or chased against their will.Oooooooooooo--the Drunkablog collapses, dies, begins to rot, smell bad(der). Dogs eat his face.
"It causes a lot of conflict on the playground," said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal of the Discovery Canyon Campus school.
Running games are still allowed as long as students don't chase each other, she said.
Update: El Presidente has more on the "White Power" (don't forget the caps!) incident.
Update II: Meet Jesus! (Warning: scary Jesus.).