Goodbye, Safe Spaces; Hello, Danger Zones


As part of its continuous efforts to foster solidarity and flexibility among its student body, New Trier has announced its commitment to creating “Danger Zones” in classrooms and adviseries. 

“Safe Spaces have proven ineffective, and Brave Spaces are not enough,” Principal Don McMaffun explained in a recent email blast to parents. “Research shows that the best way to foster connection is through collective experiences of fear and devastation.” 

“Danger Zones” will target students’ physical and psychological weaknesses. Once a quarter, students will be required to confess their deepest insecurities, hear them reaffirmed, and receive self-destructive advice in small-group settings. Students participating in required Danger Zones must follow the established norms:

  • Speak only in “I” statements; insist that everyone else also speak only about you. 
  • No one leaves the room until tears are shed or consensus is reached.
  • Expect discomfort to reach an 8/10 on the universal pain scale.
  • What is said in the Danger Zone leaves the Danger Zone, and will be played on the school televisions.
  • Expect not to fix racism, sexism, or homophobia, and accept that you will probably make them worse.

“The hope is that Danger Zones will nurture a school-wide culture of vigilance and dread, over which students can bond,” said McMaffun. “Learning to adapt to such adversity will also promote a growth mindset.”