Friday, April 2, 2010

Juveniles involved in crimes

On another post Anony wrote:

"I have been catching up on the news and saw that two of those allegedly responsible for the death of the retired firefighter are juveniles. Our schools cannot cure poverty. And if poverty was not what drove the people responsible for the death of a man walking his dog, our problems are even more serious than what we have been discussing."


Questioner said...

But, plenty of people who grew up poor have gone on to be successful, and the vast majority are not committing crimes.

The schools do have a role in combatting the effects of poverty.

The news reports, particularly most recently, often do not identify where juveniles involved in a crime attend school. But, it would be very relevant to know for example if they attend a school like CEP, which the district is paying to address behavioral as well as academic issues. And whereever they go to school, we should be asking why they were not identified as having problems and at least referred appropriately. What went wrong as these students were growing up, and were there signs that teachers and school staff should have picked up on?

anony said...

The key phrase in your post is "have gone on." Teens who have committed crimes without thinking of consequences don't get to go on to anywhere, so yes the time to prevent the negative potential is way before they reach an age to do physical harm. Could their actions be evidence of the ineffectiveness of the forms of discipline used at school? Discipline from any other source being applied at all? Possibly an undiagnosed learning problem resulting in lack of impulse control?

Anonymous said...

AMEN!_____not just "picked up on" but, addressed in positive, meaningful, constructive, and life-changing ways. Schools CAN change lives when educators BELIEVE they can____but never with exclusionary or Skinnerian measures and methods.

Anonymous said...

anony, never once did I see the word "parent" in your commentary. The firefighter that got killed while walking his dog....the woman who got killed while walking down the street with a friend in Homewood....your point is that the system failed these kids?
Pardon me for saying so but, that logic is akin to insanity. Poverty has been around as long as man has been around. The difference nowadays is that poor kids have easier access to a gun. The difference nowadays is that there is no one at home who was present to nurture them to show them right from wrong. The difference nowadays is that there is often no one around who can make the impact with regards to personal desires necessitating hard work and personal commitment. The difference nowadays is that violence and "ghetto life" is glorified and validated by mainstream media and let's make no mistake, this glorification crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries.
You forgot to mention all of that in pointing to the schools as the problem.
So just so we have this straight, you want schools to educate kids--even without supervision at home--and you want them to raise kids as well, especially where issues of morality and ethics are concerned.
At some point in time, some political, religious, sports or entertainment leader is going to place the blame for societal ills directly where it is due: the absentee parent. The individual who sees no problem in working to conceive a child, but wants no part in the process of raising that child so that he can "do his thing."
What a great thread. How cowardly can you get?

anony said...

Anonymous 4:51, yours is just the reaction I was hoping for, so that I could agree wholeheartedly. The "ineffectiveness of the forms of discipline used at school" takes us right to how useless suspensions and expullsions and the threat of going to CEP have been. It takes us further to how some things are allowed to slide until somebody gets injured or the media finds out about a situation. The "discipline from any other source being applied" referenced what is sometimes non-existent from a parent, any constructive enforced discipline. Really CYS should operate satellite offices in schools.

Mark Rauterkus said...

My angle on this discussion is a tad different than above.

Gangs are massive forces in society. Gangs are huge. Gangs work. Gangs can work for good or evil. For certain kids at certain stages in their growth, gangs and peer pressure are very hard to combat.

So, I want my kids, their peers and those throughout the region where I might walk down the street on day in GANGS that we control -- good gangs -- swim teams, orchestras, scouts, and so on.

A football team and a marching band is a bunch of other social networks are gangs too.

The organized gangs of many suburban Pgh schools destroy the gangs of the city in terms of opportunity and potential -- when it comes to the gangs of the good.

After school programs (including spors) that push and challenge in healthy ways are often what has been missing in our PPS and other inter city settings.

Questioner said...

PPS will say that every school offers sports and activities. So, what is lacking in these offerings? Or, what needs to be done to channel kids into these activities instead of gangs?

Mark Rauterkus said...

I dare say, PPS would not say that it is doing well in this realm. PPS knows it has some work to do in both sports and after school offereings. Hence, a new effort for both is hatching.

What's the first step?

How many more to go?

Questioner said...

For activities, the new effort just involves outside providers right? But for older kids the schools themselves run clubs and activities.

Re: sports, what exactly will be involved for the new effort?

Mark Rauterkus said...

It remains to be seen. Who knows?

anony said...

Let's take a look at two schools offering a lot of afterschool clubs, Allderdice and Brashear. What, besides staff, is used to support the work of the clubs? For one thing, at least in the case of Brashear, activities buses. For a kid at Obama to participate in an afterschool club the transportation issue looms large. I would like to see the district create a survey that would produce "practical" data. An analysis that might include "We can see that despite having bus passes, our students attending X magnet program in Y High School get driven to and picked up from school 88% of the time" or "Our students surveyed said they would be more likely to participate in Z Club afterschool if ..." The bottom line often is those kids with suppport end up doing the afterschool activities. The suppport comes in the form of a parent picking up a kid after a practice for musical ending past Mom's bedtime or delivering hoagies or selling fundraising items.

Afterschool clubs, activities or sports will not prevent the group of kids CURRENTLY commiting crimes from harming anyone else, at least not immediately. Certainly it is possible to turn kids around, but it is all in the timing and we are now in "catch up" mode. The partnerships that existed in our youth are shrinking. We live in a city with some thriving recreation centers which are understaffed. The answer might not be to open those shuttered, but to increase staff at those that are thriving and supporting more kids than before. That takes money.

Mark Rauterkus said...

No doubt it takes money. But there is more to success than only money.

No dobut support should go to what is working now (& expansion) rather than re-starting from scratch something that was proven to not work before.

No doubt, the one's currently doing crimes should be in jail. And, sure, kids can turn around too.

We agree mostly.

Survey says, ... yawn. But, go for it. I think it is impossible to navigate our way to engagement with Q & A when we need acts and deeds. Skeptical.

Questioner said...

Another way to obtain data might be a panel format- offer several dates when anyone interested in the issue of HS after school activities can attend and offer observations, insights and suggestions.

The idea of building on what works (and what people like) is a good one. PPS has in most instances taken the approach of starting completely from scratch.