Middle School "Spirit Day" Becomes Day of Bigotry

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Sixth graders--or middle school freshmen--are a unique crowd. No longer elementary school kids, they recreate themselves as a wiser, tougher, more independent bunch. In school though, they are no longer the seniors, but the newbies, and sometimes that means they do far-out things to earn a certain status among their new peers.

In a Chesterfield, Missouri school, however, a group of 6th graders took their need to be recognized way too far. According to a CNN.com report, the "Spirit Day" concept the kids had come up with initially included themes like "hug-a friend day" and "high-5 day," but then it turned seriously ugly. One of the days became "hit-a-Jew" day, and three Jewish students were actually hit by other students, one even slapped in the face.

The school's principal moved into action, calling an assembly and using the incident as a teaching moment. The students involved also faced diciplinary action. But was that really enough? Have your children ever faced racial or religious intolerance at school? How was it handled?

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