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Investigation Discovery, PTA Gang Up On School Violence

10/05/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Investigation Discovery and the National Parents-Teachers Association are teaming to develop a year-long programming and marketing initiative beginning in October to combat school violence.

The main staple of the initiative is an Oct. 24 ID special Blackboards and Bullies: Are Your Kids Safe?, which highlights a week-long effort to raise awareness of effective ways to keep children safe in the classroom, according to Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery. The one-hour special will highlight categories of school violence from bullying to gang violence and sexual assault.

From Oct. 19 to 24, ID and the PTA will launch “Stand Up For Kids: National Safe Schools Week,” with ID running on-air child-safety tips and public-service announcements, according to Schleiff. In addition, extensive child and school safety resources will be available online at InvestigationDiscovery.com/StandUpForKids or PTA.org/schoolsafety, with the PTA distributing additional support materials to its national network of 24,000 schools.

ID will also develop a Webinar for Discovery Education's Educator Network of more than 100,000 teachers featuring school safety experts discussing classroom safety.

The partnership is the most extensive for the 54 million-subscriber network, which rebranded in 2008 from Discovery Times Channel. The network has also partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and The National Center for the Victims of Crime.

Schleiff said the initiative is important given the fact that 650,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 are victims of violent crimes in and around schools; 8 million kids reported being bullied both physically and online through social networks; and 23% of students reported gang activity in their schools.

“Those are an amazing set of statistics, and it has created a perfect storm in the pervasiveness of bulling and violence in our schools today,” he said. “It's not just in our schoolyard and campuses, but they're being bullied on the Internet, Facebook, text messaging and Twitter. We're hoping to be a powerful voice for something that concerns our cable partners and the communities they serve.”

September