From: Steven R. Goss
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 5:54 AM
Subject: Re: Second Step
A few years ago my child's school implemented Second Step. It was funded with
a CDC grant. Since it was federally funded I was able to have my children
removed from the program. At that time there was very little longterm research
to indicate the program was effective. Regardless of effectiveness Second Step
appeared to be based on consensus and group dynamics. I have very little use
for any of these programs.
Our district allocated $1/4 million on Peace Builders which is another
non-sense program. I would think twice about allowing my children into any of
> I went to a workshop on the Second Step program at the beginning of the
> school year. Second Step is a program to help children solve problems
> without violence. Our wellness teacher is using it with the middle school
> children and we have begun to use it with all children beginning with the
Steven R. Goss
Arizona Scholarship Fund
Charlene, Recently I was faxed a paper that was sent home to a parent
whose child is in public elementary school in Ann Arundel County,
Maryland. It was not a permission slip, just an announcement of a new
program in the class. Note the parents don't get to view the video until
well after the program is implemented. You can judge for yourself the type
of information that will extracted from the students concerning their
"feelings", etc. The paper reads as follows:
Introduction to Second Step
Dear parents and caregivers,
We are starting a new program called Second Step in our classroom. Second
Step teaches skills that can help all children get along with other people
and do better in school.
Second Step lessons are divided into three main areas:
Children learn about feelings and ways to show understanding toward
2. Impulse Control
Children learn new ways to solve problems and practice skills such as
apologizing, dealing with peer pressure, and setting goals.
3. Anger Management
Children learn to manage their anger in ways that do not hurt others.
You will be getting more letters about Second Step and the skills your
child is learning. You will be given a chance to watch a Second Step
videotape designed for families later this year. If you have any
questions about the Second Step program please contact me.
CASA Second Step
After reading about "Second Step at the 2 sites above I want to
scream....when are we going to just let kids be kids..and when are we going
to get back to the business of Education instead of spending millions of
dollars and wasted time and resources teaching someone's unproven, non
scientific mumbo-jumbo opinion..none of crap is based in any fact what so
ever. In fact the best data comes from the way life was 30 years ago before
we embraced all this crap..why is that PROOF not good enough for these
whacos. Give a drunk a cup of coffee and all you have is an awake drunk..
Teach these uneducated kids all this mumbo jumbo crap and all you have is a
bunch of mixed up idiots on your hands, totally useless to anyone from a
productive point of view as well as a societal perspective..Frankly, I don't
even want to waste any more of my precious time reading about it!
The way to get back at a Bully is to become so smart that you ultimately are
signing his paycheck, let's get off this crap folks by cutting off the head
of the snake..it is time we who want Education reform, demand, and I mean
demand, a National Sales Tax or major tax reform, and dry up all the Federal
Funds that are providing these carpetbaggers with the funds to continue this
fleecing of America. We hold the purse strings, let's get off our butts. No
one will stay in the Education business doing this sort of crap if the funds
are no longer available. WAKE UP!!!!!
Fred, here is the reply I got from the Second Step people....
A nicely homogenized reply if ever I heard one. And a nice
little 'kicker' at the end.... "If only all parents..."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kris Romstad"
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2000 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: Your Philosophy
Dear Charlene S.,
Thank you for taking the time to give us your input about the book "The
Thanksgiving Visitor". Please note that the books we feature in our column
are recommended for teacher use in the context of one of our curricula,
Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum or Steps to Respect: A
Bullying Prevention Program. In these programs, children learn to develop
important aspects of their character such as respect, caring, honesty,
fairness, and social problem solving. The books we recommend for integration
with these lessons are chosen for the quality of writing and for content
pertaining to social-emotional learning.
This book is full of content that gives teachers, parents and children
opportunities to discuss whether what was presented by the author was the
right way of approaching the problem. I would agree with you that, when
possible, it is best to let children work out their own problems. This book
gives children the opportunity to discuss appropriate ways to deal with
bullying, reporting inappropriate acts like stealing, and questioning
adults' intentions. One of the 3 "R's" taught in our Steps to Respect
curriculum is "report". Buddy did the right thing by reporting the theft,
but should have done it in private to Ms Sook. Research has shown that
giving students the opportunity to on their own rectify a wrong they
committed rather than always punishing the behavior is a far more powerful
way of teaching pro-social behavior.
We always feel torn when a well-written book contains language that should
not find its way its way into a classroom. Our solution has been to
describe the book in the program's teacher guide along with a warning to
teachers about particular wording (e.g., racist or otherwise objectionable
language). This allows teachers to choose for themselves whether or not to
use the book, or to use it as a read-aloud and change the wording in the
storytelling. In all such cases, we recommend multiple books from which
teachers may choose.
Your letter points out that when writing book reviews in the context of our
newsletter and web site, we do not include these warnings. I will submit a
request to our newsletter editor that we do this in the future to mitigate
the concerns you raised.
Again, thank you for taking the time and care to write to us with your
concerns. If only all parents were as involved with and commited to their
Kris Romstad, MSW
Program Implementation Specialist
Committee for Children
On Friday, October 27, 2000, Charlie99 wrote:
> Dear Second Step:
> I am the parent of four and grandparent of 1. I have seen just about all
> there is to see in the way of children's conflicts, and the results of
> dealing or not dealing with behaviors.
> Children usually work out their own differences when given some rules to
> follow. A good example is the Ten Commandments. These are not Ten
> When offered in an absolute manner, and when insisted that they be
> children will work out their problems in one way or another. When overseen
> by adults, this is
> not hard to manage.
> Your use of the book "The Thanksgiving Visitor", quite frankly is crass
> unsuitable for the age group you indicate. The language is totally
> inappropriate (sonofabitch) and desensitizes young children to this use of
> The story is a horrible model for children in that "Odd" is not held
> accountable for the wrong he did to Ms. Sook and she makes excuses for
>"Odd's" behavior. "He can't help himself" is no excuse. Everyone is
> accountable for their behavior! Buddy is NOT responsible for Odd OR his
> self esteem. To make Buddy responsible for Odd is to "enable" Odd to keep
> doing "wrong" things.
> Stealing and bullying is ALWAYS wrong, no matter what the reason. Odd's
> self-esteem is NOT Buddy's responsibility.
> Another thing that is done in this story is to "extinguish" a child's
> to do the right thing, by having him be punished for protecting the
> of Ms. Sook when he points out that Odd stole her cameo.
> A child will soon learn that to protect someone or their property is not
> right thing to do.
> What if a child in the classroom hearing this story comes from a
> where they are taught to tell the truth and do the right thing? This story
> DIRECTLY UNDERMINE the values that the parents are trying to instill in
> It is beyond me why a school program would employ such a program with a
> faulty line of reasoning, spend $$$$$ on this nonsense, give a child a
> WARPED sense of reality, and malign family values.
> Would you care to "enlighten" me as to your motivation and mindset? I
> love to learn.
> Charlene S.