Kids get into trouble in school for several reasons. The most prevalent is a troubled home life. Most people think that kids that are provided with material comforts have no excuse to enter the field of the at-risk crowd. I've had to explain this fact to astounded, affluent, strict-pillars-of-the-community-parents. Too bad that emotional abandonment doesn't come across as a problem in today's societal norms. Emotionally abandoned kids tend to unabashedly splash into the murky waters of desperation and wind up drowning in society's excesses. These excesses include street drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, promiscuous sex that leads to prostitution, teenage pregnancy, click or gang activity, and an all-too-early initiation into crime. Desperate kids looking for attention make easy prey for recruiters looking to score. Everyone likes to be heard, acknowledged, and appreciated. Parents that ignore their kids are setting them up to fail. Many parents view school as a babysitting-dump-ground. They drop them off with the false hope of an education peppered with discipline. What they fail to understand is that kids in school are at-risk just as much as kids on the streets. Drugs are prevalent in the school setting. It's a great place for criminals to recruit from. So what can we do to help? Volunteer and start a crime-watch support group and take it to the school. Just by randomly walking through hallways you can observe shady, older characters that don't belong, and report them to school security. Go into the bathrooms and hide in a stall and listen to conversations. Look for gang colors and signs on the play ground. Keep an eye out for kids that walk off school grounds and take their pictures. That might be the last time a kid is seen before they wind up as just another face on a milk carton. Watch kids to see which cars they get into and take down the tag and description of the vehicles. This could save a few lives. I believe that drug testing should be administered in school. Not for punitive reasons, but for the sake of rehabilitation. Many judges mandate adults to drug treatment, but fail to be proactive in their juvenile sentencing. Addiction starts early in life so why don't we, as a proactive society, approach the problem in the school system? Holding children's rights unassailable clears the path to an addictive generation of gargantuan proportions. It is easy to identify at-risk kids if you know what to look for. School referrals, poor personal hygiene, bruises, scars, sleeping in class, poor grades, truancy, wearing certain colors or color patterns, pant legs rolled up on one side, tattoos, provocative and revealing outfits, texting in class, an obsession with computer time, runaways, homelessness, hanging out with older kids, sexual abuse, experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, anger problems, coming home late or staying out until the next day, saying they're in pain and asking to go to the doctor, stealing money from purses or wallets, underage drinking, experiencing dysfunctional parenting, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, suicidal verbalization, and stealing prescription medications out of bathroom cabinets are all signs of at-risk behaviors. The question is this, "Is the ostrich ready to pull his head out of the hole?" This article represents solely my opinion and does not represent any company or organization. © 2011 Julia Jankowski - all rights reserved. BA Criminal Justice, Masters in Education, Certified Addiction Counselor, Certified Mental Health Professional, Civil Competency Evaluator, previous Criminal Competency Evaluator for juveniles.
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