Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garfield Teams Up With Attorney General, Virginia Schools to Teach Online Safety

Thanks to Michael O'Connell for the tip...

Office of the Attorney General
Richmond, VA 23219

William C. Mims
900 East Main St.
Attorney General
Richmond, VA 23219


For Immediate Release
Contact: David Clementson

Garfield Teams Up With Attorney General, Virginia Schools to Teach Online Safety

RICHMOND – The Commonwealth of Virginia is hoping that a grouchy, opinionated, lasagna-loving cat can help teach children about Internet safety.

At the 15th annual Virginia Educational Technology Conference today, Attorney General Bill Mims and the creator of Garfield, Jim Davis, unveiled an interactive program to teach children about Internet safety, which the Virginia Department of Education is offering to schools statewide.

The Department of Education worked with the Garfield Foundation to draft the script and comprehensive curriculum. The Attorney General's Office provided guidance and funding. Paws Inc. Studios and Hollywood talent provided the animation, voices and production, including legendary film and television voice Frank Welker as Garfield.

"What better than a grouchy, opinionated, lasagna-loving cartoon cat to entertain kids while teaching them how to stay safe on the
Internet?" Attorney General Mims said. "Our Office has partnered with the Department of Education for years through the Youth Internet Safety Task Force and other various initiatives. We thank Jim Davis and his entertainment team for doing this so we can continue to reach students, parents and teachers while having fun."

The first installment of the program, entitled "Online Safety and You," goes live today with interactive lessons, episodes, games,
quizzes and teaching materials. The first lesson is about "cyberbullying." It is offered free to everyone through

"You wouldn't believe the number of moms, dads and teachers who've told me that Garfield was the reason their child started reading, and – gasp! – learning," Jim Davis said. "Professor Garfield can teach students about Internet safety, tickling their brain and their funnybone."

Two years ago Virginia became the first state in the nation to mandate that all public schools teach Internet safety. The new Professor Garfield program is not mandatory for schools, but rather a recommended addition to the teaching arsenal.

"Professor Garfield is an exciting addition to the Commonwealth's nationally-recognized Internet safety team," said Patricia Wright,
Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Virginia Department of Education. "On behalf of Virginia's public schools, I thank Jim Davis for his generosity and commitment to the children of Virginia."

Today  the Garfield comic strip is in almost every newspaper in the world. More than 2,400 newspapers now carry Garfield and an estimated 200 million people read the strip every day. The strip is the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.

The Professor Garfield Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational collaboration between Paws, Inc., the global headquarters
for Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University's teacher training and digital education.

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