On May 16th, the Stoneleigh Foundation sponsored a symposium about what concerned and engaged stakeholders in Philadelphia might do together to stem youth violence. At the beginning of the event, I stated that our goal was not to numb the audience of almost 200 with stunning and depressing statistics, but rather to stir them to action, to mobilize the public will and present select opportunities for engagement from those who are leading efforts to prevent violence.
It's common knowledge that if we don't give our youth a safe environment to learn, then the tragedies we fear are bound to happen.
Darnell "Dynasty" Young, a 17-year-old high school student at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, was expelled from school for bringing a stun gun to protect himself from bullies who would constantly harass him for being gay. Darnell's mother gave him the stun gun because the school refused to intervene, causing him to be the victim of name calling and physical abuse for over three years.
On May 16th, we will be hosting a symposium on youth violence to discuss how a diverse array of stakeholders can collectively work to make our neighborhoods, schools and families more peaceful. The homicide rate in Philadelphia is unacceptably high and for every person murdered, 9 appear in an emergency department with assault wounds that need treatment, and, annually, as many as 200,000 children in our city are exposed to violence. The cycle of violence can and must be halted.
At the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Quarterly Meeting on February 10th, Dr. Edward Mulvey's discussed his project, The Pathways to Desistance Study: Implications for Intervention and Policy.
The study's goals were to learn more about "serious adolescent offenders, identify factors that lead youth who have committed serious offenses to continue or desist from offending, and propose ways to improve practice and policy in juvenile justice."