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"No one can wake up a jaded, angry teenager like Michael Pritchard"

April 2000 is the anniversary of the shootings at Columbine. To help our children and ourselves contend with the unspeakable shootings by children, KQED presents Saving Our Schools from Hate and Violence (SOS). Youth counselor and humorist Michael Pritchard, whose remarkable abilities communicating with young people make his new series a "must see" for all of us troubled about youth violence, hosts these two 30-minute programs. The hard-hitting episodes provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of teenagers now struggling with the violence and school shootings that have changed our national landscape.

Imagine teenagers saying more than "whatever," or just grunting when adults ask them questions. Picture teens actually listening, mesmerized by an adult talking to them about serious matters. Watch teenagers engaged and animated as they talk to adults about what they really think, feel, face, are dealing with and troubled by. Then think Saving Our Schools from Hate and Violence and Michael Pritchard.

Adults pay huge sums of money and go to great lengths to learn how to communicate with young people. Michael Pritchard can show them how – and he does it extraordinarily well, with sensitivity and humor. Pritchard has an amazing ability to listen to children, ask good questions, and get the kids to talk.

The hope is that things will improve if teenagers can recognize, communicate and express their feelings. We can also learn from adolescents. Teenagers can teach us a great deal about the fear, cruelty, hazing, social isolation, racial slurs, suicidal students, etc., that accompanies their lives every single day.

It's astonishing to hear one teen say, "[When a school shooting happens] we all know exactly why, and we know what he feels like. We pretend we’re shocked, but we know..."; another, talking about how people need to cry when they are hurt, says "If they do not cry with tears, they will cry with bullets." The special impact of this series is that the information comes directly from the young people who are dealing daily with the violence rather than secondhand from adult experts.

Saving Our Schools from Hate and Violence was taped in two Northern California high schools where Michael addresses students in large assemblies and interacts with them in smaller discussion groups.

Saving Our Schools from Hate and Violence is produced by Heartland Media. Veteran Producer is Jim Watson. The series is presented by KQED and distributed to public television stations nationwide by American Public Television. It is produced with the underwriting support of See’s Candies.


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