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To reduce youth violence we need to start at home

caines | 3/21/2013, 5:30 a.m.

A record number of police chiefs and mayors from across South Florida recently gathered for an historic roundtable discussion on youth violence that offered an action plan for safety. With it becoming increasingly dangerous for our children to even walk to and from school, officials are keenly aware of how important their next steps will be. In the last several months, two high school boys have become victims of senseless drive-by shootings. One was paralyzed while riding his bicycle after studying with friends. The other was shot while waiting for the bus to take him to school. And yet they were the lucky ones because both at least survived their injuries. However, other youth have not been as fortunate. Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has shown signs of wearing down as the number of shootings and murders have risen 99 in the last three years. He admits that when he first promised to attend every funeral, viewing and burial of a child killed, and to visit each injured student in the hospital, that he had no idea how many times he would have to keep his word. He, like many of us, says there has been too much pain and grief. Something must be done to radically change the course on which we are headed. So, as good as this newly-proposed safety plan may be, it must now be implemented. And not just by law enforcement. We need parents, mentors, even the man or woman next door to step up to the plate. The lack of regard for human life by our youth and the violence that tends to go along with it, can be curtailed if we begin to take charge of our homes. For some, reestablishing order might be an impossible feat since you yourselves are contributing to the chaos. That means you too must change. Others may just need a helping hand or an ear to listen after having a particularly tough day with the kids. Before we get on our soapbox to address problems raging in our communities, lets take inventory at home.