By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Support and financial aid come from Sacramento. On June 30 this year, AB 1113 was approved, a law that establishes the School Violence Prevention and Response Task Force and provides $100 million for school safety — money that could be spent on metal detectors, since only 4 percent of schools have them in place. Surprisingly, the bill passed just a few months after it was introduced. Furthermore, Assemblyman Kevin Shelley of San Francisco proposed Assembly Bill 1031, designed to give annual funds of $30 million to California youth-to-youth peer programs. Although AB 1031 was introduced the very same day as the school-safety bill, it’s still in process and being amended. The entire Republican Caucus has voted against the Shelley proposal in several readings, but with the votes of the Dem-ocrats it is expected to pass this fall.The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,say experts, noting that children’s behavior is mostly influenced by what happens in the home. That’s why parents have "to talk to [their] own children about what happens when [kids] are not connected to each other, to society," says pediatrician William Sears. "We need to talk to our children about caring for one another, about why we don’t join bad groups or carry guns." But with more and more single-parent households and broken families, moms and dads often don’t have time for this. They don’t know whatgoing on, and "that’s exactly what happened in Littleton," the LAUSD’s Blake points out.
Schools can do a lot, especially with programs for young kids. But when kids reach middle school age, it becomes almost impossible to change their attitudes or behavior because, say experts, they’ve grown beyond the point at which they can be easily taught and will accept advice. By then, teenagers have built up their own personalities and might already be in trouble, having committed a crime, which is why school courses like Life Skills, which focus on high school students, come far too late. They are about managing a crisis, not about preventing one.
Tinseltown has helped shape the culture of violence. What happens when children take the wrong way is portrayed in Tony Kaye’s 1998 drama American History X, in which a neo-Nazi is arrested after killing two African-Americans. In jail he comes to know a black man intimately, and realizes that all his hatred and anger is an outcome of lacking knowledge. However, there’s no hope for his younger brother, Danny, who has grown up celebrating Hitler and racial purity. A black student shoots him in a campus bathroom. Hollywood reflects and projects. So, who’s gonna stop the killing?
For KidsCHILDHELP USA Hotline
(800) 422-4453Teen Help
(800) 840-5704Teen Helpline
For ParentsNational Runaway Switchboard
(800) 621-4000Boys Town National Hotline
(800) 448-3000The National Parenting Center
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