Justice AdamsLanguage Arts7th GradeDecember 5, 2012Do the Write Thing Youth Violence Challenge: How Violence has Affected My Life, theCauses of Youth Violence, What Can Be Done to Curtail it, and What I Can Do to HelpReduce/Eliminate It Violence has affected my life in that it has impacted my community, senseless fighting andmurders of youth and adults alike, both in the Parkway Village community of Memphis where Ilive and in the city and world at large. A 15-year-old teenager was shot and killed not long ago ashe fled to Eastwood apartments from men and/or possibly other teens who were pursuing him ina car. In the same apartment complex, which is not far from where I live, a man stabbed hissister’s children and her for trying to protect them. Another man shot and killed his girlfriend on the parking lot of Delta Medical Hospital,where she worked, because she’d broken up with him, and, even closer to home, one of thesecurity officers in the apartment complex that I live in was shot and killed on duty. There havebeen numerous other incidences that make it very clear that our communities are simply not safe.No one can walk or even drive through the streets without facing the looming reality that theymay be subjected to random violence, and probably no one feels completely safe in their ownhome, and this simply should not be. Some of the primary causes of youth violence is actually school-related, the chief cause ofwhich is bullying. A student may be targeted by a bully because they’re different, becausethey’re smart or perform well or not so well in school, because of the clothes or shoes they wear,who they’re dating or not dating, or because of a physical attribute, like being “too tall” or “tooshort,” having pimples or unkempt hair, being over or underweight, or because of either of thenoted characteristics in a parent, relative, or close friend of the student. Some victims of bulliesand violence may be targeted because of their race or socioeconomic status, or in retaliation foractivities of their parents or other relatives, i.e. for offending a perpetrator or a relative oracquaintance of a perpetrator. Some victims are randomly targeted for no particular reason at all. During and after school fights, which usually begin as arguments, erupt, and very often otherstudents or close friends or relatives of either party of the fights get involved. Some adults are bullies. A teacher or other adult figure who demeans or belittles and/or evenphysically assaults a student as “tough love” or, in some cases, sheer hatred, or who does notappropriately intervene when they are aware that a student is being bullied are examples. Thingsof this nature are a chief cause that many students do not perform as well as they couldacademically. They are also cause that many students have attendance issues and eventually dropout of school altogether, feeling that they do not have the support system or level of support thatthey need to continue. Some students resort to self-inflicted violence or bullycide, the act ofcommitting suicide as a result of being bullied and/or excluded. School, of course, is indispensable, and in actuality curtails much more violence than it mayattribute to. It not only provides a constructive haven for nearly a third of each day for studentsto learn, it offers hope for transcending poverty and despair, major contributing factors toviolence.
To address causes of youth violence it is necessary, thus, to first and foremost appropriatelyaddress the issue of bullying and other causes of student underachievement and/or dropout,especially considering the fact that a majority of those who wound up incarcerated in their adultlives are dropouts. All reported and/or witnessed incidences of school-related bullying should beinvestigated and followed up with focus groups involving all parties and their parents orguardians, and should entail a resolution that each party must abide by. Focus groups,distinguishable from interrogations, should also be conducted in juvenile as well as in adultcorrectional facilities for each and every case. To directly address the issue of school-related violence, all students and residents of aparticular community should have direct access or a number to reach their readily adjacentschool security or police officers already patrolling their school zone during episodes of fightingor events that may lead to fights, rather than having to necessarily dial 911 and run the risk ofdelayed intervention (Residents of apartment communities should also have direct contactnumbers to their site security officers). This would also help to reduce the burden on 911dispatchers and city police. Students and others should also have the option of silently textingtheir school security and/or police officers. Additionally, cameras should be placed near andzoom in on school bus stops and trouble areas and/or those where students are known tocongregate. School security/law enforcement officers and city police should be capable ofremotely viewing and hearing live footage from these cameras via surveillance monitors in theirpatrol cars—All school bus stops should have bus shelters with intercoms that would connect totheir or the nearest school’s security and/or police officers (school bus shelters would also shieldstudents from rain and other precipitation while they are waiting to be picked up). Schools should also conduct regular seminars addressing youth violence and possibleoutcomes, the laws where violent offenses are concerned, and the importance of getting a solideducation. For students who have gotten into trouble or who get into trouble, these initiativescould entail school or city-sponsored boot camp as an intervention. What I can do to help reduce/eliminate violence is report any incidences of it and/or bullyingto proper officials and offer input such as this for preventing and intervening when it does occur,whatever it takes that is right. Say No to Violence and Yes to Success! 2 Do the Write Thing Youth Violence Challenge Essay Contest Entry and 2nd 9 Weeks Project by Justice Adams