When Debbie Adair began teaching Enochs High School seniors a new unit she had introduced into her English classes called “Ending the Culture of Violence” last January, “eight or nine kids came forward.”
“Most of these kids told me about being a victim of violence, whether they had been molested by mom’s boyfriend or physically assaulted by an acquaintance,” she says. “None of them had received any counseling. And I’m guessing there are more students who did not come forward.”
The kids’ reaction supported Adair’s decision to create the unit on ending violence at Enochs High’s Biotech/Forensics Academy, a school focused on science within the general high school in Modesto, CA. In March, student Alexa Ramirez said: “Hey, Ms. Adair – we should make a video!”
In a whirlwind three days, 70 students (out of 175 enrolled in Adair’s five English classes) wrote, directed, and produced a shocking, inspiring, and totally absorbing nine-minute video, “Ending the Culture of Violence.” When it was shown at a panel discussion on violence in Modesto, it was well received by the 150 parents, students, teachers, and school administrators who attended.
Although the Modesto population tends to be culturally conservative, Adair says nobody complained about the video or the unit. “This is what these students deal with every day,” she says. “If parents or community members are offended, they should be, because this is the world we live in.”