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HMSS Students Look to 'Silence The Violence'

Project aims to support victims of CT shooting

Following the school shooting in Newtown, CT people around the country have come up with unique ways to show their support for the victims and survivors of the tragedy.

At Middle School South a class of seventh graders came up with a project to work with their fellow students to put down violent video games for a week in a show of solidarity with the Connecticut students.

Calling the project "Silence the Violence," was inspired by a student from the affected district who started a drive to collect and destroy violent video games donated by his fellow students.

Five students, Katie Klein, Aparna Ragupathi, Riley McGowan, Jayne McDevitt and Charlotte Paley gave a series of presentations asking not to destroy the games but just to take a pledge to put them aside next week. Their teacher Jaime Strauss said putting the presentation together took a lot of work and discussion by all 28 students in the class. 

A group of students, she said, did not believe that violent video games contributed to the issue of school violence and initially had rejected the premise of the project. Two of those students, she said were part of the group that researched the topic. "They said I want to do research because I want to see if what these people are talking about is true," she said. From Friday to Monday, she said the students were onboard and ready to do their part. 

Strauss said their research surprised even them. She said that while they did not believe the games caused people to kill, there was a relationship between the games and more aggressive tendencies. "It kind of just plays with your brain a little bit," she said. "They were kind of thinking about it and said 'yeah,' that makes sense."

The pledge that Strauss' class hopes the entire student body will sign on Monday is just one part of their efforts. There will also be announcements with information on the topic during the week, signs in the school and in the front of the building. 

Seeing the work her students have done has also showed Strauss what makes her class so special. "This class is really wonderful," she said. "I knew they could do it. And I knew they work really well together. They gave good feedback to each other and I'm very proud of them."

This group of students is part of the school's Project Plus program where the group travels through the school together in all their academic classes. The time spent together is what helped the students work together according to Strauss.

The students said they know their classmates will not want to put down the video games all together but said there are other options besides violent games to keep them busy. They said they hope next week will show them how much fun those options can be.  

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