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School Violence Demands Responsibility
By Mike Fak(18,246)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008
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In Chicago last week another young man was shot and killed on the streets after school. The 17-year-old African American was shot dead by a 15-year-old African American in what authorities are stating stemmed from a dispute over a hat. A Hat! And that is enough in this day and age to blatantly gun down another human being in front of witnesses thus destroying two lives and two families with just one bullet.
The story is new but the topic is not. Too many children believe respect is something so important to them that it supercedes life. This false sense of image has created a situation where every day, students across the country are beaten or wounded or killed all because of some silly notion that the crime is required in order to maintain one’s status in a bizarre world of hate and violence. And then the blame is shifted to schools and police and sometimes even the victim.
Rarely it seems, is there any responsibility placed on the parent or parents for allowing their child to learn about life from street thugs and violent movies and music and ill-chosen friends rather than from them.
Often the stories tell of crimes committed in schools in blighted and economically depressed neighborhoods but that is only a trend to the violence and is by no means a requirement. For every ghetto child murdered, there is a tale of another child from a solid middle class family going berserk in a school because he didn’t get the respect he believed he deserved. And then we read how it was the failure of the school to provide adequate security or the police for having far too few patrols in an area.
I hate to bring this up but schools and police shouldn’t have to provide security at our schools. The initial purpose of schools was to educate, that of police to protect the community against crime. Somewhere along the line, the children attending schools have created a war zone that compels authorities to expand massive amounts of money and time doing something that shouldn’t even be occurring in our society. Our schools should be places where our children can learn and where dreams can start to come true. Our schools should not be a place where dreams are snuffed out and another life is ruined because someone needs to prove to everyone else how much of a “man" they are.
During all of this the parents take themselves off the hook. They claim their children are good kids and if only the school or police did their job their good kid wouldn’t be in jail right now. The blinders, the incredible lack of personal responsibility by parents is enabling this violence to continue to escalate as more and more good sons and daughters prove to the world that no one can disrespect them and live. Never is it the parent’s fault that their children walk around the neighborhoods with guns in their pockets and street gang symbols emblazoned on their bodies. Never is it the parents fault that they don’t know what their child is doing and with who. Never when their child starts being arrested does it become apparent that a responsibility to start keeping a watch on their son or daughter and to monitor what they are doing is required of them. Never when they hear the abusive language and talks of violence do they reprimand.
In Chicago, the recent murder of 17-year-old Ruben Ivy was the eighteenth Chicago Public School killing this year. That is more than the slaughter at Columbine High School. The only difference is these young people were killed one at a time on different days for different silly reasons. It doesn’t make these killings any more or less tragic than a mass murder at a school. But like other tragic and troubling news that keeps coming at a steady pace, the stories all start to meld as we become numb to the situation and it all just becomes noise we no longer listen to. And then it happens again to someone we know or love in a neighborhood that until that day we thought was safe.
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Posted to ProBlogs.com on Tuesday, March 18, 2008
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