Nan Austin

On Campus: Enochs teens seek to open eyes to violence

Enochs High students I wrote about in April have created a compelling video on living in a culture of violence.

The teens use pointed questions to drive home the statistics about assaults, display familiar ads that suddenly look shockingly sexual, and call out the casual slang that dehumanizes their fellow teens. The language, it should be said up front, is not for tender ears.

Some 70 students in Debbie Adair’s senior English classes created the nine-minute video, which can be found at the http://acestoohigh.com site – click on education and scroll down a page.

A news report about rape on college campuses inspired Adair to create a teaching unit on “Ending the Culture of Violence” in January. Eight or nine of her students came forward as the research and discussion went on.

“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 in the post with the video. “None of them had received any counseling. And I’m guessing there are more students who did not come forward.”

In a county where domestic violence makes up 40 percent of the district attorney’s caseload, it seems certain there were students touched by abusive relationships who did not speak up.

Many likely did not recognize those unhealthy connections for what they were, said teens participating in a parallel project at Enochs and Riverbank High. Their teens helping teens project, being watched statewide, is through a collaboration of nonprofits and schools.

Besides talking to classmates and raising awareness, the teens said they want to see a unit on recognizing and avoiding abusive relationships as part of the health class that all high school students take.

“They spend one day on abuse – one day!” Enochs sophomore London Riddle told me. “We want people to know what can happen, what to do if it does happen.”

Forty percent ... she has a point.


Just in time for a summer read, the University of the Pacific has put out a list of works by alumni and instructors. Here are two:

“Constructing Muslims in France: Discourse, Public Identity, and the Politics of Citizenship,” by Jennifer Fredette, Temple University Press, $29.99 (paperback) or free download at http://jenniferfredette.com/, 232 pages. In her first book, Fredette, (bachelors in French, political science, 2004) examines the bias against Muslims by French elites. Fredette is assistant professor of public law at Ohio University.

The Lucas Effect: George Lucas and the New Hollywood,” by Patti McCarthy, Teneo Press, $29, 336 pages. Nonfiction work by McCarthy, UOP assistant professor of film studies and English, examines how the filmmaker has transformed the way movies are made in Hollywood. McCarthy’s look at the “Lucas Effect” comes as the next Star Wars installment, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” is being readied for release later this year.

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