I had a request to follow up on my Capturing Kids Hearts/Fred Jones post.
I went to the workshop in August, and Capturing Kids Hearts was far worse than I expected. I have written letters to both my state senator, and representative asking them to investigate this group and pass a law giving teachers protection from some of the tactics used in the workshop.
I had jokingly referred to co-workers having “drunk the kool-aid” because of their devotion to “Capturing Kids Hearts”. It wasn’t too far off the mark. The tactics used by the presenter reminded me greatly of cult recruiters or Amway/timeshare sales people. Their leader is the savior of schools. He didn’t start out to do this. He had never intended to take this into multiple schools, but principals begged him to train their teachers to use his techniques. In the end he couldn’t refuse, but he had to make in clear if they didn’t follow his directions perfectly it wouldn’t work for them. (so when it doesn’t work, something I’m hearing frequently it is the teacher/school’s fault not the program) I went home annoyed, but grateful I could go home and wasn’t restricted to their retreat center.
The second day was the most disturbing. We were presented with a video of their success stories. 2 in particular disturbed me.
Student 1 – A teen age girl had been abusing drugs. Through capturing kids hearts techniques the teacher/leader of her group had reached out to her and persuaded her to go cold turkey off the drugs over a weekend. From the information presented there was NO evidence that her parents were told about this or of any medical support. If we aren’t allowed to suggest a child be tested for ADHD because we are not doctors, how in the hell does a teacher get away with this. What if the child had been using a drug with severe consequences for unsupervised withdraw.
Student 2 – Another teenage girl witnessed her father commit suicide during elementary school. She brought this up in a group meeting. The others “affirmed her” allowing her to “reframe the situation” and coming to terms with this. This student said she never got help before, because her mother had trouble dealing. Again no mention of any additional support for the child from qualified people.
One the third day I confronted the presenter about this and he “assured me” that the Principal of that school was on top of things and surly got them additional help. It sounded like a pat answer and honestly I don’t believe him.
Also on the third day we were subjected to various personality type tests and personality evaluations. For example we were to take the worst thing that ever happened to us and “reframe” it to a positive. I developed a sudden need to go to the bathroom during every one of these exercises, because I do not discuss this type of things with strangers or lay people. If I ever need emotional help I will go to a fully qualified medical/mental health professional that I check out completely, not a former football coach and principal with no advanced degree in mental health field.
This is the second time in 5 years a workshop did this the other was required this was strongly recommended. I contacted the legal help line of our state Teacher Association (I’m in Texas there are no teacher unions) to ask if this was legal. There is no law protecting teachers from being subject to some quack making money off the district.
I have requested that my state senator and representative investigate or get the proper agency to investigate this group to see if they are practicing medicine without a license or encouraging teachers to do so. I worded my request strongly citing a parent’s right to decide medical/mental health treatment for their minor children.
I’ve also asked them to pass a law forbidding school districts from administering or allowing presenters to administer personality type tests. This time I cited my privacy rights and my right to obtain my one mental health care.
I will NEVER go to another workshop giving by this organization – they tried to sell us several other programs for the last ½ hour or so of the presentation.