Video Librarian, November/December Issue, 1999

Saving Our Schools From Hate and Violence
Highly Recommended. ***1/2

After watching Michael Pritchard talk to kids for 15 years, I feel like I know the basic format of his routine like I know the back of my Hyundai.  Yet, I am constantly surprised each and every time by his unique gift for establishing rapport and eliciting straight-up talks from children of all ages, even – perhaps especially – teens.  In this timely two-part series, Pritchard visits a couple of high schools to talk about making our schools safer in the wake of the Columbine tragedy and other shootings over the past few years.  In part 1, “Breaking the Silence About Hate and Violence,” he addresses an auditorium audience on violence in the media (suggesting that, in his next Hollywood blockbuster, Arnold Schwarzenegger probably won’t put the safety on his Uzi in favor of exploring conflict resolution or anger management), and the importance of talking about the issues, before settling down with smaller groups for a face-to-face discussion.  The kids are remarkably well-spoken and honest about their fears (or indifference) concerning school violence, their admission that they have had revenge fantasies, and the problems of dealing with repeated harassment and bullying.  In part 2, “Building Caring and Safe School Communities,” Pritchard reminds his listeners that “hurt people hurt people,” and explores ways in which teens can reach our to their peers, and take personal responsibility for their own actions, as well as their responses to the actions of others.  Not a candy-coated moral lecture by any means. Saving Our Schools is an excellent discussion starter on an (unfortunately) hot current issue. 

Highly recommended. 
Aud: J, H, P. (R. Pitman)

HeartLand Media
4104 24th Street, # 128
San Francisco, CA 94114
415-642-5838 (fax)
Order Line: 1-800-99-YOUTH