“Let us go back to chewing gum”

I remember when I was in public school (it’s not that long ago!) the most horrendous crimes a student could commit were fairly simple: Boy blowing gum bubble

  • running in the hallway during the exchange of classes,
  • yelling in the hallway,
  • smoking in the bathroom,
  • talking back to a teacher;
  • and, finally, chewing gum!

Sadly, 2017 indicators of school crime and safety in public school data reported by the U.S. Department of Education states that most schools are faced with an increase in violent behaviors, bullying of students, drugs, alcohol, gangs and students having weapons.

In the past, going to school each morning, you were assured of a solid education, more or less positive social gatherings, and a warm nutritious lunch time meal.

Parents were more involved and schools were seen as a place of safety and a part of the community. Now 75% of our nation’s schools have a School Resource Officer (SRO) on staff.

Research shows that we have had 288 school shootings since 2009. This year alone, we have had 94 acts of gun violence in our schools.

The children who arrive at the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina have also been exposed to so much violence, crime and abuse. We know that these kinds of traumas without intervention will lead later in life to drug and alcohol abuse. Our mission is to provide a healthy and safe environment to meet the needs of vulnerable children by addressing their physical, emotional, social, educational and spiritual development.

What would it be like for these children to get back to the point where the worst crime a student committed was chewing gum?

David Passmore is the Vice President for Residential Services at Boys and Girls Homes of NC.

Learn more about our services at B&GH.

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