The once highly acclaimed Military Institute in Virginia is now providing “stress buster” programs including coloring books as options to help students “unwind and relax before studying for finals.”
In a statement made by the school, “peer educators will provide bystanders intervention and other educational training.”
According to a screengrab from the VMI website, “Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, the Cadet Peer Educators (CPEs) will merge with cadet government under the Cadet Equity Association’s (CEA) Training and Education branch. As such, the formerly known CPEs are now members of CEA. All CEA trained educators are nationally certified through the BACCHUS™ network to assist with new cadet development, education/prevention programs, and individual peer support for a broad range of topics such as stress management, alcohol and tobacco, interpersonal relationships, bystander intervention, and suicide prevention. Trained peer educators are interviewed, selected, trained and advised by Cadet Government and the Center of Cadet Counseling.”
The three programs listed in their statement include flyers posted up in bathroom stalls on health-related topics. “Opportunity for cadets to unwind and relax before studying for finals,” with “stress reduction activities” like “yoga,” “therapy dogs,” “coloring books stations,” “card/game stations,” and “grab and go snacks.” As well an intervention program to help “identify barriers to bystanders intervention and establish skills/techniques to intervene.”
“VMI once took America’s youth and prepared them for duty and the harsh realities of war. Now, for $20k a year, VMI will turn your teenagers back into children.” stated a VMI alumni in an article by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Virginia Military Institute removed “stress busting” from their program after the article was written up about it on the Washington Free Beacon. Below is the original statement issued by the school.
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