Patterico's Pontifications

11/17/2003

GOAL: FEWER HANDS RAISED

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 12:22 am

This Steve Lopez column about some eighth graders visiting a fancy restaurant as a reward for academic diligence rang a bell with me. He relates that, at the meal, one of the students asked an assistant principal if she had ever seen someone shot in the head. Lopez says that another student spoke up, and another.

And now it seemed as if everyone at the table had a story about a shooting. The student next to me said he had been shot at and was with a friend who was shot and killed, and he proceeded to go into great and graphic detail about the gang activity in his neighborhood.

This reminded me of a similar question I once asked of fifth-graders in Compton. I was teaching a weekly class about the criminal justice system, and there was a skit that involved someone being shot. I asked the students to raise their hands if they had ever heard gunfire from their houses.

Every hand in the room went up.

I asked them to raise their hands if a family member or friend had been shot.

Every hand but two went up.

Again, these were fifth-graders.

I don’t have a simple solution, but this is a pretty good indication of what the problem is.

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