Did the Windham School District Break the Law on Challenge Day? – JP


This was sent to The New Hampshire Department of Education in an effort to conduct an investigation:

Dear, Ms. Fenton,

Please see the two attached files that were provided to me through a 91-a sent to the Windham Superintendent on April 4, 2024.

Students in the district participated in Challenge Day. You can access information on Challenge Day in the file attached to this email.

After a casual conversation with some Windham parents whose children attended Challenge Day, I was surprised to find out that even though the parents signed a permission slip, they were not aware of the personal questions that would be asked of their children.  It appears the questions asked of the students were not provided to the district by the vendor, and then were not available to the parents to read.

I am unable to access the questions that were asked of the students during Challenge Day. When I inquired about the questions asked of students, I was told that this information was included in their response. (See attached screenshot)  I did not see any of these personal questions asked of students included in the files provided by Windham.

For example,  Windham parents were told that students had to “Cross the Line” if:
– they have a family member or friend who wanted to or committed suicide
– they ran away from home or felt like they didn’t belong
– have a family member who was made fun of because they are LBTQ
-if they had ever been abused
-if they had ever felt poor, been poor or been homeless
These questions were not provided to me in the reply from my 91-a request.

This is the kind of example that was presented to the House and Senate Education Committee by those who testified in support of the Non-Academic Survey Law. Legislators listened to testimony from parents who said their children were asked these kinds of questions in a class in front of their peers. This is exactly why this law was passed–to make sure parents understood what would be asked of their children so they could refuse their participation. According to testimony, some of these students were required to move forward or backward based on their answer. The teacher then took photos of the students in the class based on where they stood after they answered these questions.

RSA 186:11 IX-D requires:
–school districts to adopt a policy governing the administration of nonacademic surveys or questionnaires to students. The policy shall require school districts to notify a parent or legal guardian of a non-academic survey or questionnaire and its purpose. The policy shall provide that no student shall be required to volunteer for or submit to a non-academic survey or questionnaire, as defined in this paragraph, without written consent of a parent or legal guardian unless the student is an adult or an emancipated minor. The policy shall include an exception from the consent requirement for the youth risk behavior survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The policy shall also allow a parent or legal guardian to opt-out of the youth risk behavior survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The school district shall make such surveys or questionnaires available at the school and on the school or school district’s website for review by a student’s parent or legal guardian at least 10 days prior to distribution to students. In this paragraph, “non-academic survey or questionnaire” means surveys, questionnaires, or other documents designed to elicit information about a student’s social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student’s academics.

It is my understanding that parents have not seen the questions asked of their children when they participated in “Cross the Line.”  The district has also not provided me with these questions after filing the 91-a.

In addition to answering personal and deeply emotional questions about themselves, this activity appears to bring mental health treatment directly to students whose parents never consented to this kind of group therapy in school.

When districts participate in surveying students about their personal lives or provide this kind of group mental health therapy in school, the law should be followed.  In addition to the state law governing non-academic surveys, the federal law PPRA also spells out parental rights governing the administration of a survey, analysis, or evaluation of students in the eight protected areas.

As you know, Every Student Succeeds Act requires parents to consent to mental health assessments or services.

In the discussion with the parents, I was also told that some of the students were in tears during this group therapy session. Looking at the list of individuals who were present, it’s important to note that no Phd level Child Psychologists were present. If children were experiencing any trauma or reliving trauma through this exercise, it does not appear that anyone present has the education or clinical training to deal with those situations.

This kind of group therapy in school has already been criticized by those in the mental health field. SEE Death Education Columbine High School featured on 20/20: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbiY6Fz6Few (pay close attention to 6:00 to 10:28)

The Vendor also made sure to relieve themselves of any liability. A licensed Child Psychologist would be accountable through the licensing board if they were treating a child in their private practice. What if a student re-lives trauma during this mental health exercise and begins to self-harm or, worse, takes their own life? This is exactly why these laws were put in place–to give parents the information they need to make an informed decision for their children. Children who may relive trauma, abuse, or suffering during one of these group therapy sessions need the best professional care.


The Vendor also states that :




Ann Marie Banfield 


Las Vegas News Magazine

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