MARINETTE - Fallout from last week's "Cross the Line" activity at the Marinette Middle School continues. School Principal Shawn Limberg issued a two-page letter to parents late Monday explaining concerns expressed to him by parents. He also provided the questions and statements read to the students during the exercise.

According to Limberg, the purpose of the "Cross the Line" activity was, "to build strong, more respectful relationships among students, and help them better understand the diversity that surrounds them."

A number of parents have gone on record saying the school crossed the line by asking probative questions about private family matters and issues that should remain at home, not be aired publicly in a classroom by middle school children.

Among the issues Limberg wished to clarify was that "Cross the Line" is not a game, but rather an activity that is just one component of the school's proactive approach to dealing with bullying and the many challenges that affect the lives of children which have the potential to interfere with their learning at school.

Parents who spoke with the EagleHerald on Friday said their children were told they either had to take part in the activity or face an in-school suspension. Limberg said, "Students were not forced to participate in 'Cross the Line.' Students had the opportunity to not participate in the entire activity as well as individual components of the activity." He also denied that students were disciplined or threatened with discipline for not taking part. He said students who didn't wish to take part were given another exercise which focused on "respect, awareness and sensitivity to individual differences."

"What might have confused some students is that the room where they completed the alternate exercise was used in the past as an in-school suspension room," said Limberg. "Unfortunately, this might have been perceived by some students as something punitive merely due to the location, but there was nothing disciplinary about the alternate exercise."

In his letter, Limberg assured parents that at no time were students' names or responses ever documented, recorded, or maintained for any reason. Nevertheless, parents were upset that they did not receive advance notice about the activity.

"We are now in the process of re-evaluating the impact and effectiveness of this activity and are also taking all parental input into serious consideration for the future," he said. "Be assured that if a similar activity is considered in the future we will communicate the purpose and its details in advance."

While parents were out of the mix, Limberg said teachers and school counselors were involved in the process and with preparing students. He said they were present during the activity at all times and even facilitated a follow-up discussion in smaller groups after the activity.

After getting feedback from parents, both positive and negative, Limberg said that while "Cross the Line" had a positive effect on how some students see themselves and treat others, he realizes that others may not have had the same result. Because of that, staff at the middle school were provided information about possible signs of negative reactions that may be exhibited by some students. They've also been told to refer any student they're concerned about to one of the trained professionals including school counselors and psychologists.