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TV Turn-Off's back as media violence targeted

Ellsworth school officials are continuing their campaign against media violence with another TV Turn-Off event beginning late this month.

Curriculum and Instruction Director Leona Johnson told the school board early last week the event will occur shortly before many local students take required statewide tests. Johnson explained studies have shown the left side of the brain, in which logic and decision-making is centered, can lose activity when subjected to violent inputs. Research has determined at least three days must pass without such inputs before the activity returns.

By imposing the voluntary ban on a chief source of media violence just prior to testing, officials hope students' scores will improve, Johnson said.

The schedule of activities for the 10-day event hasn't been finalized, she said, but preliminary plans call for it to include open gym times, open swims at the local pool, family fun and four-square nights, a sock hop and breakfast-with-books, among other attractions intended to be alternatives to electronic viewing of violence. Incentives to turn off TVs involve free cards for several open swims at the Klaas-Jonas Community Swimming Pool for elementary and middle school students who turn in slips to teachers, and free aerobics classes at the pool for high school students who do likewise, as well as their friends.

A presentation for parents entitled "The Dark Side of the Internet: Sexual Predators of Children" by Eric Szatkowski on Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the EHS gym will serve as a kick-off to the event. Opening ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Hillcrest and Prairie View elementaries, and closing ceremonies on Friday, Nov. 9.

The TV Turn-Off is being supported by the Hillcrest and Prairie View parents' clubs, the local Lions club and the Klaas-Jonas pool.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Oct. 17.