February 26, 1995 in City

Students Vow To Boycott Violent Cartoons On TV Second-Graders Charted Aggression, Swore Off Shows

Associated Press
 

The students in Susan Colonna’s secondgrade class have had it with the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

The same goes for the “WildC.A.T.S.” and even “Looney Toons.”

The class at Thurston Elementary School has decided to stop watching the cartoons because of the violence they depict.

“I used to watch Power Rangers a lot, but now that I found out it has a lot of violence I don’t anymore,” student Eric Ellingson said.

As a class project last month, each student watched a half-hour show and tallied the violence: threats, hitting, kicking, use of weapons, bombings and other aggressive acts.

The result? Out of a combined 12 hours of cartoon programming, the students counted 621 incidents of violence.

Now they’ve sworn off the shows, and they’re urging other kids to do the same. They’re even mounting a boycott of the shows’ sponsors - McDonald’s, Eggos and others.

“It was just a small idea that’s mushroomed into a much larger one,” Colonna said Wednesday after taking her 23-student class to receive a commendation from the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

The students stood and read their three-paragraph “Declaration of Independence from Violence,” then were congratulated by the commissioners for the stand they were taking.

“This is a real special class,” said Commissioner Jerry Rust, who visited the school last month to hear about the project. “You guys are great. You’re brave, you’re smart and you’re out to change the world.”

The class is writing letters to Oregon’s congressional delegation, urging regulatory action to curb cartoon violence.

Colonna developed the TV survey as a means of teaching her students to address public issues, as required by Oregon’s Education Reform Act. The project has prompted the children to think, communicate, collaborate and deliberate, she said.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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