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Monday, October 22, 2007

Cries for help...

Cries For Help…

There's been a frenzy of school violence in the past few weeks. Bomb threats, weapons in middle schools, open threats written on school sidewalks. Yet aside from Virginia Tech coverage, while scouring national papers, the most recent prominent article in Time magazine was this heart-wrenching, though six-year old, article. The Boston Globe and USA Today are equally as old…

Boston Globe:
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/01/04/a_new_chance_to_stop_teen_violence/

Time:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,999473,00.html

USAToday:
http://www.usaweekend.com/00_issues/000416/000416teen.html

Why is it that something that is almost epidemic only gets media attention when there's blood spilled? They give these "threats" minimal attention, sending what message to troubled teens? The Virginia Tech shooting was covered on TV for over 30 hours…so the message is loud and clear, and the teacher in me cringes to know that they get a heck of a lot more than their "15 minutes" these days.
I'm a fan of the media, obviously as an author, I can't live without them. But by and large, it's a reactive industry. Yet with the power to reach millions, imagine what the media could do if they targeted a cause a month… The high-powered papers could combine forces and have outreach facilities join force. They could have hotlines, prevention tips, and information for parents on how to recognize the signs and possibly help kids who might become our next newspaper headline. Just imagine…
We could choose different topics every month: Drugs, gangs, gun-control. With the media's help, this could become an Oprah-sized solution to problems that are very likely going to be the undoing of our nation. It's hard to imagine that Corporate America wants kids to kill other kids, but with their vast resources, you have to wonder why no one sees the epidemic or has thought it's time to do something about it. Haven't we done the same thing with gangs and drugs? Now they're so commonplace, we don't even know where to start to diffuse these issues.
Teachers know the problem is too real, kids have known it for decades…it's time for the rest of the country to step to the plate and take a swing at one of the scariest trends in our nation's history. It isn't just about bullies anymore, because as much as we know about cliques, those who tease aren't just generating tears anymore. They're stirring hate in with a society filled with guns, anger, and a vast internet of people frothing at the mouth for violence. It took eight years for Columbine's numbers to be eclipsed by the Virginia Tech tragedy. Do you really think it will be eight years before another one tops the list?
There's an act of school violence every 2.3 seconds in this country… While you read this article, at least 10 schools fell victim to a gun brought to school, someone assaulting a classmate, or God forbid, severe injury or death. If that doesn't get the media's attention, I shudder to think what's coming next.

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