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Kids make anti-violence TV commercial

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 28, 2008
— Students at a Janesville charter school have an idea about what causes school shootings and other violence among kids their age.

They've taken that knowledge and used it to produce a public service announcement being shown during Charter Communications cable TV programs.


The students at TAGOS Leadership Academy took on the job of writers, editors, camera people and actors to produce the video.


The PSA shows a girl who feels alone and alienated as other students shun her at school. She drops her notebook. A boy picks it up for her. The act of kindness makes her day.


"We were trying to tell a story," said TAGOS 10th-grader Evan Cook. "The idea is that somebody might be feeling worthless, but if somebody helps them, they can feel a whole lot better."


Evan said he was one of those kids who was picked on by others. Fellow PSA producer Annie Showers-Curtis said she was picked on, too.


"There's a lot of bullying going on. I know how it feels to be bullied," said Showers-Curtis, an 11th-grader. "I know how it feels to be alienated and not part of the group. But all it takes is one person to do something nice for you, and it just makes your day."


If no one ever reaches out, the result could be depression and never talking about the problem, which could lead to suicide, Annie said. "Or we could have another Columbine on our hands, and nobody wants that."


The video's message is meant for young people: "Just be nicer to people, and it will really make a difference," Cook said.


The video was scheduled to begin showing Oct. 24. It will run thousands of times in 40 Charter markets during the school year, said Charter spokesman Bob Pinter.


The effort was a collaboration with Charter, the Blue Ribbon of Promise anti-violence campaign and the Wisconsin Center for School, Youth and Citizen Preparedness.


Click here to view the video.

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