A large number of the members of the Richmond community has held a meeting at Martin Luther King Jr. The topic of the meeting were recent acts of vandalism conducted by young members of the Richmond community. Richmond NAACP believes that it’s about time that community does something for troubled children who are directing their vandalism against a public institution. Mischiefs or cries for help? That’s the question that the participants of the meeting wanted to answer.
James J.J. Minor, the president of Richmond NAACP, believes that the main issue now is not particular acts of vandalism but general violence in the entire community.
In the recent period, a public school in Richmond, as well as the neighboring preschool, went through ten acts of vandalism. One of the latest incidents cost the school $47,000 after a group of young children broke over twenty school windows. Jason Kamras, the school Superintendent, stated that the incident was disturbing both for the students, and the teachers. The police officials identified the culprits as a group of minors, not older than 14.
A Chance Instead of a Punishment
Due to the very young age of the culprits, and the fact that this was their first offense, no real criminal charges will be involved in the solving of this problem. Instead, the children will attend a course that is designed to help non-violent and first-time offenders. The course lasts nine weeks, and it’s part of a program for minors that offers juveniles a substitute for serious penalties. Elaine Minor, the head of the mentioned program, stated that no one from the community wanted to see these young offenders imprisoned. Minor also added that this kind of issues couldn’t be solved by the police officials or public schools. The issue needs to be solved by the community members that are ready to get dedicated to and involved in the solving of the problem.
Elaine Minor also concluded that these types of non-violent young offenders were most likely not committing such vandalistic acts because they were genuinely corrupt. Instead, Minor believes that these kinds of offenses are cries for help, committed out of boredom.
The participants of the meeting concluded that the ideal solutions for the issue include sports, camping, and internships. The concept of summer programs as motivation for the change of behavior was singled out as the most popular proposal. Community members concluded at the meeting that the best way to get funding for such summer programs was through corporate sponsorship. The participants of the meeting made this conclusion because the public schools are not able to fund such summer programs. Among other proposals at the meeting, the revival of home ed class and increased involvement of the PTA also came up.
Is the Whole Problem a Lot Deeper?
Since one of the recent acts of vandalism was stealing food from the school premises, the community became concerned about one more issue — are children’s needs for nutrition met? Community is worried about whether it is failing to take care of the needs of its youngest members. The school principal, Inett Dabney, was especially worried about the student’s quality of life after the incident with the food occurred.
Where Does the Violence Come From?
Inett Dabney also added that the community couldn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that there was a huge issue of conflicts between the housing complexes that get brought to school. The relation between the five public complexes that have issues with gangs and vandalism in the schools can’t be ignored. The only way that the community can succeed in solving the issues of vandalism is by acknowledging the mentioned connection between the gangs and school incidents.