Thursday, March 6, 2014

SOLC Day 6: Witness Protection Program

Currently, our 7th grade students are listening to Don't Look Behind You by Lois Duncan as a read aloud.  If you're not familiar with this story, it's about a family that enters the Witness Protection Program because the father testified against dangerous criminals.  In order to get the students engaged in the story we had them imagine what life would be like if they just had to leave everything and start over without being permitted to talk to anyone or do anything from their former life.  The students have some very strong opinions about what this would be like for them to go through.  In order to build some background knowledge we had the school resource officer come in and talk to the students about the Witness Protection Program.  I don't think I've ever seen the students so engaged in a conversation as I did with this one.  

Here are five of the most interesting facts that I learned from this conversation:

1.  The Witness Protection Program started in 1871 and was known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.  This was started as a way to actively combat attacks upon African Americans.  
2.  The majority of families that are entered into the Witness Protection Program are dangerous criminals who have ratted out other criminals.  They enter the Witness Protection Program as protection from revenge.  
3.  When families enter the Witness Protection Program they are only given enough money to support their basic needs until they find a job to support them.  The goal for families that enter this program is to blend in and stay out of the spotlight.  
4.  No one can be forced to enter the Witness Protection Program.  Participants in the program can return to their previous life at any time (still with the risk of being killed).
5.  The U.S. Marshalls are in charge of the Witness Protection Program.   


  1. I am so engaged with argument writing these days, that I am immediately see the challenges this topic provides. Love that book too, Stephanie.

  2. I can see how kids would be interested in this topic. Whatever it takes to get them to read! I'll have to look into this book.

  3. I'm curious: Did any of your students think it would be exciting to have a fresh start?

    I'm also going to have to add this book to my to-read list.

  4. Ok, I have to check out this book. You have me curious.

  5. That's fascinating information, Stephanie. Now I'm interested in checking out this book.