What are the Answers?
Some Things to Think About
- Juvenile Courts.
- Programs to give kids hope and a new direction.
- Zero Tolerance.
- Boot Camps.
- Metal Detectors.
- Law enforcement officers in schools.
- Software which builds student profiles to predict those most likely at risk.
- Lowering the age at which a child may be tried as an adult.
- Younger ages of offenders.
- Increasingly violent crimes.
- Frustration from inability of adults to understand and find effective solutions.
- Failure of parents to effectively meet the challenges.
- Schools overwhelmed from responsibility by default and by parents who
- increasingly become adversaries instead of cooperative allies seeking what is best
- for the child.
Media-reported Samples of Breakdown:
- 5th graders putting soap in a teacher's water.
- Internet threats of violence similar to Columbine.
- Public fight which attracted Jesse Jackson after students were expelled for 2 years.
- Boot camps which turn into camps where kids are abused in the name of tough love.
- Kids being charged with possession of a weapon without giving credence to the student's
- A teen who is so distraught and alienated following the death of a parent that he turns to
self-destruction by violence similar to what the media has shown as the way.
- A boy who is so afraid of the system that he doesn't tell of his mother's death.
- A child who tells the teacher of her mother's death and isn't believed.
Reasons for breakdown:
- Disconnection between parents under stress (sometimes self-imposed) and children who
fill the void by parenting themselves or turning to less desirable leaders who offer to fill
- Disconnection within the community between schools, teachers, families and children.
- Media influence
- Patterns of speech and behavior which may appear acceptable in a brief program, but
which point the way to a breakdown of communications in the real world.
- Media images which glorify violence and degradation as opposed to the devastating
consequences in real life.
- Shortened attention span which studies show roughly corresponds to time between
- Societal stress from increasing instability
Lack of a living income for many
- Lack of sufficient acceptable outlets for youth free time
- Athletics which, if they aren't becoming more violent, are easily viewable by everyone
including those who may be less discriminating about emulating the violence
- Music which incites anger, blame, revenge, disrespect of others and of values
- Hero worship without discrimination
- Media and public disrespect for the "office" as well as for the "person" holding the office
- Individuals in public life being held to a higher level of accountability than the accusers,
and usually for the accusers' personal benefit
- Public personages who seem to believe they are above respect for commonly held
standards of values