I could not help but to overhear the conversation of the young twenty-something woman that was sitting next to me on the bus. The passion of her conversation caused her to speak a little louder than I believe she had intended. She was speaking with another female passenger and attempting to explain the nasty gash across her right cheek. Because I was only getting pieces of the discussion, my first thought was that her mate caused the injury. To my surprise, it was not her husband that gave her the bruise, the permanent scar was caused by her son.
Based on the discussion, her son was angry that she was unable to purchase a Christmas gift that he was looking forward to receiving. She went on to say that she was afraid of him and that on more than one occasion she called the police when he refused to come home until the early- morning hours. Then she stated, “I don’t know what I am going to do when he starts junior high school next year.” If my math was correct that would make her child approximately 11-years-old.
Upon hearing this, her travel companion made the comment, “Well, let’s hope in junior high school some of the teachers can work miracles with him.”
Her comment touches on a major aspect of what has been in the headlines of late. And that is school violence. Too many parents subscribe to the theory that the only energy that should go into childrearing is dropping their children off at the doorsteps of the local public schools. The issues surrounding school violence has as much to do with what happens in the household as what does not occur in the classroom.
The problem of violence in our schools has reached an alarming level and we must take a pause in our hectic lives to devise a real plan to bring it back into control. That plan cannot be created by school officials alone. It must include every aspect of our community, including those who do not have children in the public school system. Let us not forget that you cannot say public school system without saying Black and brown students. These children are our future and if we like it or not they are our responsibility.
This endeavor is no different from the commitment that parents of prior generations embraced. We should not allow time to rewrite the lines on how many of us behaved as children. I am sure there are still some walls at Intermediate School 8, where I was a student, that has my creative literature written on them. If we all look back into our adolescent years, I am sure there are moments in time that we wish we did not behave the way we did. In fact, we are not who we are because of our own doings, but because those adults of the time did not give up on us. Much of our success stems from an adult’s unrelenting desire to see us achieve in spite of ourselves.
We must match that passion with the young people of today. It is going to take more energy than dropping our children off at the doorsteps of the local school and praying that someone works a miracle.
100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care has committed their support to this challenge by conducting a series of “Parents Empowered to End School Violence Workshops.” The forums which will be held in conjunction with Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel, will focus on supplying parents with proactive measures, that they can take to combat school violence. In far too many cases, parents feel as though they must sit on the sideline while their children are the victim of violence. Members of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care will use their law enforcement and legal experience to empower parents to play an active role in ending school violence. The workshops will be broken down into three basic components. The first phase will demonstrate to parents the type of items that are being used as weapons by young people. Following that display, we will then instruct parents on what to do when their children are the victims of violence. Included in this instruction will be tips on how to anonymously report those students who are carrying dangerous weapons. The last phase will be conducted by Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel and it will include legal instruction concerning school violence.
To stem the tide of violence in our school system, we must ensure that parents, police and school officials all are reading from the same page. This can only be achieved by bringing the parents into the discussion.