'Challenge Day' pushes students to think differently

Washington Township schools take part in program

INDIANAPOLIS - School officials are hoping a nationwide program designed to change attitudes takes root and will help combat bullying.

Hundreds of children are taking part in Challenge Day at Washington Township middle schools.

With high energy music and games, the kids spend all day outside the classroom learning a new way of thinking.

"Challenge Day brings the spirit up with energy in the morning, and then it kind of breaks you down, causing you to think deeply about yourself as well as others around you," said Niiki Woodson, Washington Township schools superintendent.

Challenge Day is designed to promote compassion, acceptance and respect, aiming to cut teasing and bullying.

Woodson said it transforms students and adults alike.

"It's a catalyst for change, and it encourages children to be the change, not just in their schools, but in their communities," Woodson said. "It goes beyond the one-day experience, and we have seen impacts on school buses, in our communities and certainly at our schools, with children intervening with other children or in situations."

Washington Township schools have been on a waiting list for the program for nearly a year. It will come to Northview Middle School on Wednesday and Westlane Middle School on Thursday.

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