An Iowa teacher named Jane Elliott decided to teach her students a lesson in racism in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. One day, she explained to her students (without telling them it was an experiment), that blue-eyed (or light-eyed) children were going to be getting more privileges in the class. They were given extra recess time, a second helping of food at lunch, and were allowed to sit at the front of the classroom and participate in class discussions. Brown-eyed children were subsequently forced to sit at the back of the class and were more severely punished for the same type of behavior that blue-eyed children got away with throughout the day. By the end of the day, the blue-eyed children were taunting the brown-eyed children to no end. Interestingly, blue-eyed students who had struggled to do well on class assignments before the special treatment were already showing improved performance in their schoolwork by the end of the day, whereas the previously successful brown-eyed students showed signs of struggling with their work after being treated as less-than their blue-eyed counterparts. The next day, Mrs. Elliott reversed the exercise, with the brown-eyed kids getting the privileges. They didn't taunt their blue-eyed classmates quite as viciously, most likely because they had experienced the taunting day before. The experiment ended after the second day and all of the children cried and expressed that they had, to an extent, learned what racism felt like. While it's disturbing that the students who were given privileges taunted those who were not, at least this experiment had a positive result and taught the students a very valuable lesson in racism and empathy.
As they are leaving Bishop Flats, Steve makes the decision to return to Cradle Bay to rescue his sister, which upsets Rachel. Rachel then tells Steve that all her ambitions of escaping Cradle Bay and going to college have now evaporated with their new revelations about the Blue Ribbon program, and implores him to simply escape with her. When he insists on returning for his sister, Rachel relents and goes with him. On the ferry back to Cradle Bay, Steve and Rachel use the time to have sex in Rachel's truck. The scene can be found on the original 2000 dvd release by MGM.