Letter from Reader: High School Students “Deeply Moved” by Raising Cain

April 11, 2009

Joan Boland, from Glen Ridge High School in Glen Ridge, New Jersey shared this note about her the reaction from students in her Sociology Class to the Raising Cain Documentary.

Joan writes:

I thought you might like to know that I use “Raising Cain” in my high school Sociology class. After watching the video and reading some of the PBS.org materials I had the students design a program addressing an issue or issues raised in the program. They had to create a flier for their “program”, and write a description of it, including what they expected participants to learn. The results were excellent. Some of their program titles included:”In the Mind of Boys”, “It’s Not That Bad: A Discussion”, “The Strength of Guidance: Giving Your Child the Role Model He Needs”, “The Boy’s Burden”, and “Fatherlessness in Our Streets.” The descriptions indicated that they had learned far more than I had thought and they were deeply moved by “Raising Cain”. I wish you could see their faces as they watch it. They are moved and enlightened as they watch it.

In addition to fliers, they actually, created “programs” and broke them down into lecture segments, discussion groups, question and answer segments, etc. I was really pleased with the depth of their reactions. The task they were given is attached. Though I am not a big fan of the expression, they really “took ownership” of the project.

I have used your program for several years and it is always a highlight for the students. As it happens, a relative of one of their classmates is included in the video. He is part of the Lincoln-Sudbury group. Several teachers have borrowed the DVD as well, to help them understand their own boys, as well as male students.

It really is so touching and important, and a wonderful addition to our Sociology curriculum.

“Raising Cain’s” impact is limitless. Thanks for such a valuable teaching tool.


Joan Boland

Program Leader, Social Studies

Glen Ridge High School