Youth violence is summed up in one statement: “We’re hungry and all that you have given us is an appetizer to appease our appetite to stop the rumbling. You have not given us the full meal to make us full and this is why we keep coming back.”
As long as the kids do not have any activities, they do not have a mentor and they do not have the community engaging into their lives then they will continue to “just have fun”. Yes, it was said and they have the right to say it. Why? Because they have asked, they have begged and the only response we can provide is to take away after school activities. What will that resolve? It will only enlarge their territory to do more damage. Then who will we blame again, the kids.
We are not listening to their cry. No, we cannot save all kids but we can save more than what we have now. It was a time when you had drama class, ROTC, youth activities, more sports activities that did not cost parents their arms, legs and a kidney to get their child involved. It’s understandable that the economic status has changed and income is much needed but when you charge so much, you are denying the students who are in low poverty level to be involved. Those are the kids you need to touch.
We make excuses all the time about what students are doing wrong but how many are out on the front line without charging as much if any, to make a change and help? Taking away after school activities and not letting programs in the school is not the answer. During a forum with 6 teens, they stated if they had a mentor or if they had more sustainable and consistent community leaders who cared about their success, they would be less likely out on the streets. They want adults to be held accountable for their child’s actions, they want adults to install common sense and make them conscious of their activities and behavior and most importantly they actually know there are repercussion but they also know they will not be held accountable for it; therefore, they will continue to do so.
Kids are yearning for that responsible role model, that person that will hold them accountable for their actions, that leader that will be there to show the right path and that parent that actually cares. Now what will you do to make a change? Will you continue to give them a nugget happy meal or will you start giving a Filet Mignon? Stop whining and do something!
We talk about bridging a social gap between our teens and society. But according to the 2013 Report Card where there was an 88% graduation rate, it seems we are not bridging a gap, we are parting further apart. (http://tn.gov/education/data/report_card/2013.shtml) The incident that happened Saturday, Sept 6 around 9:15pm on the Kroger parking lot of Highland and Poplar is not the first time this incident has happened in that parking lot. I have shopped in that shopping plaza many times and there is always at least 2 patrol cars driving the lot. Where were they when these incidents happen? Better yet, why didn’t anyone call the police when the first man was being attacked? Instead of calling the police they were taking a video to go viral. What if this was your child, what would you have wanted done..video or police?!
It was told a 25-year-old man said he was attacked by the mob of teenagers as he was walking to his car in the store’s parking lot. Two teenage Kroger employees – aged 17 and 18 – hurried to help the man being attacked, but both of them were said to have been repeatedly hit in the head and face. The employees said the mob threw pumpkins that weighed more than 20 pounds at their hands after the two had fallen to the ground. Those actions are verified in the video that was taken. Both of the employees who were trying to help the man lost consciousness due to the physical attack they encountered. (examiner.com) This was not black on white crime, it was a gang of kids who some call themselves the “Fam Mob” who played a game called “point them out, knock them out”.
Now how ridiculous this sounds, it’s the same effect of the irrational challenge games – cinnamon challenge, pass out challenge, fire challenge, the Vaseline challenge and so many more “challenges”. What happen to the challenge of staying in school? When will adults be challenged to become a mentor? We argue that there are more black males in the street, in gangs, pants hanging down, not in school, etc. But when are we going to stop complaining about it and start helping the problem? Yes we know the old saying it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a mentor to help just one. Don’t complain about what they are doing unless you are making an impact to change the behavior. They are reaching out asking for help yet so few are stepping up to the plate and giving it. Don’t be about it, do something about it! What’s YOUR civic duty in the community?