It appears we have turned our backs on the youth of this country, just recently at one high school in Palo Alto, California four teens committed suicide by stepping in front of a train. Then there are the recent reports of a group of 20 high school kids participating and standing by watching a brutal 2- hour gang rape of a female classmate also at a high school in California. Who is responsible for these crimes? Is it the parents or the community as a whole. As a nation we are looking past all sorts of troubled children. “A recent FBI sweep arrested 700 people suspected of trafficking American children into prostitution. 52 kids were saved, the youngest just 10 years old.” I have written numerous blog posts on the number of children that runaway each year some to never return because their home life is unbearable and they would rather be on the streets than live in unbearable conditions. Once on the street the most popular and sometimes only way to earn money is by prostitution. When my son ran away, and I like to think from a good home, we did not get any help from the police he was just one of the hundreds of teens out there and waiting to commit a crime or kill himself. Luckily we located him before any of that happened and we had a support system in place for him. This young person was not so lucky, a very young girl, raised by a drug addicted abusive mother. This young girl was befriended by a male neighbor and after 5 years, this once honor role student, losing her virginity is turned out on the streets. Her life becomes so unbearable, that at 13 years old she kills her pimp and is convicted of 1st. degree murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole. As I am reading and writing this, I cannot believe our juvenile system was not there to help this young girl before it got to this point. This young girls story is not an isolated case. “In the United States there are nearly 2,300 boys and girls convicted of crimes and serving “life without” as they call it. Amnesty International reports in the rest of the world combined there are just 12 children serving such sentences. A disproportionate number of these juvenile offenders are members of a minority group. In other words, America seems okay with condemning children, many who were victimized first, to die in prison with absolutely no chance of ever having a full, free life.” If we don’t take care of our youth while they are young we will have to deal with them later. Why wait for them to commit crimes before our system steps in. Many are victims of our adult world; it turns my stomach every time I read about a young person being tried as a adult for a crime. An adult is never tried as a youth, so why do we have this double standard? The teen brain is not a mature brain, they deserve a chance. Let me know what you think about how we as a nation care for our troubled youth today and what would be a good solution to create a better future.
When adolescent boys and girls are at-risk with substance abuse, or behavioral issues, behavior modification programs, as well as cognitive therapy, can result in the positive changes he or she needs for a long lasting transformation.