by Hilda Coyne

Low or No Cost Methods

1.  Limit access to guns. Keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.

2.  Make parents accountable for their children's crimes on a case-by-case basis.

3.  Install immediate/early warning systems, for instance, instant cell phone access, text messagine, and email on high school and college campuses to notify students and staff of criminal or other dangerous activities, and advise them of procedures to follow to protect themselves. 

4.  Arrange for quick response from police to school/campus crises.

5.  Have ex-gang members advise others on reasons/ways to avoid/leave the gangs.

6.  Institute sensitivity training classes for staff and students alike to prevent the repetitive denigration of any student in or out of class in order to avoid provoking emotionally fragile individuals into dangerous and/or deadly behaviors.

7.  Provide appropriate academic care and counsel for special education students. They may be slow to respond and/or inarticulate, and unable to defend themselves. Others often ridicule, abuse, and take advantage of them. Others also may place them in position to receive blame for damaging acts they did not commit, unable to expiate themselves with slowed speech. Eliciting responses from them may help to ensure that they comprehend instruction and other information. Additionally, they, as well as minorities, have been and are targets of the neo-Nazis. Further, students who fail to process visual/auditory input adequately may respond inappropriately, then stand accused of inattention when the statement is inaccurate, and become discouraged and injure themselves, or outraged and attack others. Therefore, staff must remediate special education students' processing deficits as well as establishing academic accommodations in general studies for them.

8.  Monitor medication side effects. Some medications may cause mood swings. Students receiving medication may require close supervision, a different prescription, or both.

9.  Direct teachers to steer clear of student fights and to call the police. While some teachers may not be injured or involved, they and other members of school staffs might not report school crimes to avoid appearing inept and risk losing funding, increasing the risk of the escalation of such negative behaviors towards potentially lethal ones.

10.  Teach non-violent conflict resolution .

11.  Present substance abuse information and sex education classes early. Twelve-year-olds are getting pregnant. Giving students accurate information, then asking questions to ensure comprehension, and receiving both verbal and written responses, may facilitate their understanding and recall of valuable data, which may offset such appalling statistics.

12.  Petition webmasters of personal websites, for example, MySpace and Facebook, and those who guide youth, to instruct them to leave out personal data such as age, phone number, and address to avoid becoming targets, and omit self-revelatory sexual content.

13.  Request that instructors of human sexuality in such pre- and post-secondary courses as psychology and sociology avoid self-revelatory sexual commentary in classroom settings to prevent possible victimization, use non-personal examples if needed, and limit students' classroom expressions of sexual self-revelation to protect them as well.

14.  Offer additional consumer math, employment procedures, and other life-skills classes. This may aid in preventing criminals from taking advantage of students or their believing misinformation, and subsequently entering a life of crime. Role-playing, then eliciting interpretation, may assist in ensuring comprehension.

15.  Teach the value of an education. Thus, youths may be able to avail themselves of a better life than one of succumbing to the deadly lifestyle within the drug culture.

16.  Fight hate crime. In 1995 there were 300 active hate groups in the United States; in 2003, there were 751. There are also 4,000 Internet websites promoting terrorism, violent hate, and Holocaust denial, many of which recruit at-risk youths. Americans might try to find constructive methods to recruit at-risk and other youths, and then teach them in ways that appeal to them to care for themselves and others. For instance, set a positive message to rap, and receive verbal and written feedback to ensure comprehension, when possible.

17.  Decent citizens might offer alternatives to those that the hateful mislead.

18.  Teach understanding of diverse cultures and histories. Some parents teach bigotry. Sudbrook Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, teaches prejudice awareness, and that prejudicial teasing is dangerous. They teach Hispanic, Native-American, Asian-American, African-American, Christian, and Jewish histories, using materials from Facing History and Ourselves, a non-profit organization in Brookline, Massachusetts. Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center has helpful materials, free to schools, e.g., Teaching Tolerance magazine, and Eyes on the Prize videos. Eliciting both written and verbal responses to the questions that these materials pose may encourage comprehension.

19.  Find ways to expose/expel bigoted faculty, school board members, curriculum designers, librarians, police officers, judges, or members either of government, the clergy, or the media. Racial, ethnic, sexist, homophobic, and religious hatreds have always presented challenges. Those against recognizing and fighting hatred appear to be those who are in favor of it and promote it.

20.  Restructure police departments. In many jurisdictions, one officer receives the call, another investigates the crime, yet another takes the case to court. This seems less effective than the former structure in which one officer walks the beat, knows everyone there, and carries cases through from start to finish, providing for more responsibility/accountability. Monitor the few brutality cases, but realize that most police officers pursue criminals by the crime level of the area, rather than by skin color. The poor may be in greater need and then might commit more crimes. Further, a few African-American people may distrust the police, and might not apply to become police officers in sufficient numbers to affect policy, often enacted by middle management. African-Americans may be in the ranks or, if able, might become part of the top leadership. Recruiting more African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans might lessen tension. Lastly, police officers may often work too many hours and yet receive insufficient compensation for their life-threatening occupations. Then, they may have inadequate representation in their grievance committees. These police officers generally need support to monitor youths as well as adults in and out of schools most effectively.

21.  Request police academies and law schools teach police officers, attorneys, and judges more about special education identification, treatment and needs, as well as special education law. One-third of juvenile delinquents is dyslexic; however, delinquency tends to abate as remedial treatment increases.

22.  Provide students with excellent role models. Youths benefit from seeing first hand and listening to the stories of such individuals as Dr. Ben Carson, who emerged from awful circumstances, often the same as theirs, to succeed.

23.  Teach character education. This may reduce tension, the need for discipline, and free more time for teaching and thus for increased learning.

Moderate Cost Methods

24.  Install metal detectors in schools.

25.  Reduce class size. This generally allows for better supervision and thus for less crime, as well as more time and attention for improved teaching and learning.

26.  Place probation officers in schools. Monitor at-risk students and avoid violence. Let school staff provide both instruction and counsel as needed.

27.  Initiate more programs that provide for the diagnosis and appropriate remedial treatment for at-risk youth in the early years. Such programs tend to prevent the more costly failure, hospitalization or incarceration. Students who do not receive an adequate education may become a detriment to themselves and to the community. On the other hand, students who receive an appropriate education may become adults who lead fulfilling lives and contribute to society in a positive way.

28.  Diagnose learning differences accurately. Twenty percent of the population has a learning difference. Many students have more than one learning deficit, for example, dyslexia and attention deficit. Furthermore, according to some college and university administrators, instructors, and academic advisors, one-third of entering college freshmen have a learning difference, and 50% of them drop out. A few students may receive medication for related problems, such as anxiety caused by a seeming inability to learn, without also receiving the appropriate care for their learning differences. In addition, a physician may reassess and then wean a student from medication when advised that the student has been malprocessing sensory input and has made progress in remediation. Moreover, some dyslexic individuals who cannot process information well appear not to be paying attention when they are. Under-identified, misidentified and inappropriately treated students, when pressured to produce more than they can do, may become depressed, enraged, suicidal, or homicidal. The under-identified or misidentified student with unmet needs may act out with negative, dangerous, or deadly behaviors.

29.  Develop student-centered community outreach programs to try to reach students who are on the streets and not in school in order to guide them into positive programs, which may include counseling and job training.

30.  Develop parent-centered community outreach programs to try to involve those parents appropriately who are dysfunctional, abusive, overprotective, demanding, neglectful,   inexperienced, or defensive, some certain they have sufficient experience to guide youth appropriately when the opposite may be true.

31.  Have celebrities youth accept issue positive values/replace anti-social lyrics in films, live concerts, broadcasts, and related venues in ways that appeal to them to popularize those values and limit negative ones and anti-social, criminal, and deadly behaviors.

32.  Block the publication of bomb and other weapons instructions, gun sales, and hate crime websites on the Internet. Other countries block undesirable information from the Internet. There should be no broadcasting of any content on the Internet that is a danger to the public safety.

33.  Contribute to organizations that fight hate crime. Donate to the NAACP, 85 Mt. Hope Dr., Baltimore, MD, 21215; the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20036; the Simon Weisenthal Center, 1399 South Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90035; and the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Blvd., Montgomery, AL 36104.

34.  Use appropriate texts, speakers and museum visits to teach Holocaust history.   For those schools which wish to teach Holocaust history but have neither the budget nor the proximity to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., there are many fine history books available. Some writers use the level of language that a child might comprehend. For example, please see the following excerpt from Miriam Chaikin, A Nightmare in History: The Holocaust 1933-1945, Clarion Books: New York, 1987. Trials are still taking place today. The lives that were lost in Hitler's inferno could not be brought back to life. But some wounds were healed after the war. The Catholic Church withdrew the teaching that Jews of all centuries were to be held responsible for the death of Jesus. In December 1986, speaking in Sydney, Australia, Pope John Paul II said:

Where Catholics are concerned, it will continue to be an explicit and very important part of my mission to repeat and emphasize that our attitude to the Jewish religion should be one of the greatest respect, since the Catholic faith is rooted in the eternal truths contained in the Hebrew scriptures, and in the irrevocable Covenant made with Abraham.

Major Lutheran bodies have also taken new positions. The Fourth Lutheran World Federation Consultation on the Church and the Jewish people met in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 8, 1982. On that occasion, they issued a statement to all member Lutheran churches throughout the world declaring:

We Christians today must purge ourselves of any hatred of the Jews and any sort of teaching of contempt for Judaism.






© 2007 Hilda Coyne All rights reserved