No. 687



With respect to school violence, a relatively new phenomenon, there is a program taking place here in our community that has the potential to help students and schools all across the nation. This information was detailed in a couple of articles than ran in our local paper, the Log Cabin Democrat, and written by Jessica Bauer, education reporter for the paper. The reason I have decided to pass along some of her information to you is because it deserves wide dissemination so every concerned person in America can know about it. If there is one thing we don’t need in this country it’s another school shooting. What a tragedy!
First this background: Back on Monday, April 21, 2008, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a noted authority on school violence, came to Conway to address a group of St. Joseph School parents, teachers and other community members at the St. Joseph Church. Joe Mallett, principal of St. Joseph High School, noted that any educator can tell any parent how to lessen those chances, but bringing someone in with Grossman’s credentials and background carries more weight. Grossman is a West Point psychology professor, a professor of military science, an Army Ranger and the author of “On Killing,” for which he has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Grossman, who pioneered the study of killology, said the violence portrayed on television, movies and video games is a “toxic, addictive substance for kids,” and the best way to combat that is to turn it off. He said on average a child spends 45 hours a week in front of the television, and pointed out that his talk April 21 coincided with National TV Turnoff Week, in which many local schools participate.
Apparently what Lt. Col. Grossman had to say that fateful night resonated and even struck a nerve, because on Oct. 13, 2008, there was another Cabin article stating that St. Joseph High School has entered Grossman’s program titled, “Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television.” During this past summer, guidance counselor Teri Breeding attended a workshop in Escanaba, Mich., along with teachers and principals from schools in 21 states across the county, where they learned how to implement the program. She said big schools, small schools, public schools and private schools were all represented.
Because of my involvement in our bookcase project, here is something that Teri Breeding said that really hit home with me. She said, “The kids who are overexposed to violence in the media tend to have more aggressive behaviors, but another part of overexposure to media in general, including computers, video games, television and movies, are that kids spend more time doing that and less time reading and being creative, so it has an impact on academics as well. As a result, bringing the program to St. Joseph would be an easy way to fix behavior problems and boost test scores.”
Teri went on to say, “When we did our training in Escanaba, Mich., we met with people from a high school who had implemented this for a few years and their test scores improved. We are always looking for new ways to raise our test scores and we thought it wouldn’t hurt to try if it’s simply turning off the TV and video games.”
Something else I love about this approach is that when it’s successfully implemented in high school, the older students can teach those in the lower grades. For more information or to get in touch with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, visit or e-mail
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)