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News & Views
SEVEN PART SERIES ON GANGS
(September 2004) A series of articles in the Los Angeles Daily News reported on gang violence in southern California. Daude Sherrills who helped broker gang truces after the 1992 riots, believes grassroots organizations can have the biggest impact when run by people from the community, who understand the gangs. To win the war against gangs, the political will to attack this problem as aggressively in the homes and schools as on the streets, is necessary. This series of articles touches on many topics and addresses the people and actions working to fight gang violence. www.lang.dailynews.com/
ADHD RISK FACTORS IDENTIFIED
(September 15, 2004) An article by WebMD on the CBS News website reported on findings from Mayo Clinic researchers that indicated boys are three times more likely than girls to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but having well-educated parents lowers the risk. Martin Stein, MD, San Diego pediatrics professor, said it is becoming clear that ADHD is a biological disorder influenced by environmental factors. Stein also says the organization's guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD should help clinicians and parents better identify the condition. www.cbsnews.com
TACOMA DROPS RECESS FOR ACADEMICS
(September 18, 2004) The Seattle-Post Intelligencer reported on a recess ban now enforced in local elementary schools in Tacoma, WA. Assistant superintendent Karyn Clarke said, "We want to maximize our instruction time. Our mission is to prepare young people to compete in a global society." Olga Jarrett, an associate professor of early childhood education at Georgia State University said, "My research indicates that if children don't get recess, they are more fidgety and less on task. It's counterintuitive to think that you can improve learning by not allowing some sort of break." http://seattlepi.nwsource.com
ACCENDO CHRISTIAN ACADEMY OPENS
(September 20, 2004) The Sun Herald announced that Rev. Tommy Fortenberry opened the Accendo Christian Academy in July 2004. The Academy provides dormitory-style living with a recreation room, home schooling through the Accelerated Christian Education program and GED courses at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Young men participate in Bible devotions and services at Church on the Rock, as well as sports and community activities. "These boys are no different than other boys, they have just lost direction in life," he said. "This is a place where they can look inside themselves. I encourage them to find Jesus Christ and to walk that way." www.sunherald.com
STUDY: ATHLETES EXHIBIT CHARACTER PROBLEMS
(September 27, 2004) An article by the Christian Science Monitor reported that a new study conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics in California looks specifically at attitudes and behaviors of high school athletes. The survey questioned some 4,200 high school athletes across the country and showed how boys tend to show more cynical attitudes and engage in cheating more than girls. The study also found 31 percent of males (25 percent of females) felt their coach was more concerned with winning than building character. www.csmonitor.com
COLLEGE REMEDIAL COURSES IN SCOTLAND AT RECORD LEVELS
(September 27, 2004) An article in BBC News reported that a record number of first-year university students in Scotland will receive crash-courses in basic English and grammar. Half of Scotland's universities must provide remedial fast-track classes because of plunging literacy levels in schools. Some students could not write, spell or punctuate simple sentences. Professor Joe Farrell, a modern languages expert at Glasgow's Strathclyde University, warned that a fundamental lack of basic education was stunting students' ability. An estimated 800,000 Scots suffer from poor literacy and numeric skills, with a third of the children failing to reach appropriate reading levels by the end of primary school. http://news.bbc.co.uk
UTAH BOYS RANCH HAS IRS TROUBLES?
(September 27, 2004) An article on the KSC 1160 News Radio website reported that a complaint was filed with the Internal Revenue Service, alleging the Utah Boys Ranch in West Jordan illegally contributed financial aid in the re-election campaign of State Sen. Chris Buttars. A request to do a formal investigation of the tax-exempt status of the school was also filed. Buttars, the school's executive director, acknowledged having campaign materials delivered to the school and talking to constituents and campaign supporters on office phones. Fines could range from an immediate levy of taxes to revocation of the school's tax-exempt status. http://radio.ksl.com
JUVENILE SLAYINGS SPIKE IN WASHINGTON DC
(September 28, 2004) An article by the Washington Post reported a surge of violence in Washington, DC, claimed 21 young lives this year. DC Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said he could not explain the spike in juvenile killings. Twelve victims under 18 died in 2003. Ramsey said a culture of casual street violence could be a factor in some juvenile homicides. He also said that many of the youths died while committing crimes. "It's important to remember that when engaging in high-risk behavior, it increases the odds of being injured or killed," Ramsey said. "With the exception of a few innocent victims, the majority of those who died had engaged in high-risk behavior." www.washingtonpost.com
18-YR-OLD SETS UP ROBBERY AT HER PARENTS HOME
(September 28, 2004) An article by WTHR Indianapolis online said Kelli Troxail, an 18-year-old drug user, is charged with setting up the robbery at her parents' home. Two armed men accessed the couple's apartment with a key, and took $48,000 in cash. The couple withdrew the money from their bank for a down payment on a house. Only their daughter knew where the money was. The mother said she had pretty much disowned her daughter for setting the family up. www.wthr.com
STUDENT CHEATING ON RISE
(October 2004) An article on MSN Family reported that statistics indicate student cheating is on the rise. A professor at Rutgers University Don McCabe, PhD, conducted several studies that show alarmingly casual attitudes on cheating. Of the 4,500 high school students he interviewed during 2000-2001, 75 percent admitted to cheating on at least one test; this is up from 50 percent in 1993. Among seventh graders, 64 percent said they had collaborated with other students while instructed to work alone; 48 percent admitted to copying homework from someone else, and 87 percent said they had let someone copy homework from them.
FIRST ALL FEMALE BOOT CAMP CLOSED
(October 6, 2004) The Lakeland Florida Ledger reported on how the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), which spent $3.1 million this fiscal year for Polk's boot camps, stopped funding the all girls program. DJJ representative Tom Denham said the boot camp's occupancy rate was too low (79 percent, compared to 93 percent for the boys' camp) and its recidivism rate was too high (67 percent in 2002 for girls, 54 percent for boys). Sheriff's officials said if the occupancy rate was too low, it was the DJJ's fault for not directing enough female delinquents to Bartow.
DIRECTOR OF BUFFALO SOLDIERS BOOT CAMP ON TRIAL FOR SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN ARIZONA
(October 7, 2004) The Associated Press reported that Charles Long, the director of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association boot camp, went on trial Thursday, October 7, 2004, for second-degree murder. The victim, Anthony Haynes, 14, died while at Long's boot camp. Investigators said Haynes died of complications after a near drowning and dehydration. When Haynes collapsed in the triple-digit heat, two counselors put him in a bathtub to cool him down. Long is accused of telling the counselors to bring Haynes back to the camp rather than transporting him to the hospital when he didn't respond. www.strugglingteens.com
TROUBLED BOY STABS MOM TO DEATH
(October 12, 2004) A story in the New York Post reported that a troubled teen, Aaron Clark, 15, stabbed his 48-year-old mother, Gail, to death during an argument about his "older" girlfriend spending the night. The boy forced his mother, a captain with the city corrections department, to reveal the combination of a locked safe where she stored her loaded firearm. Clark stabbed her to death after she gave him the combination. The 19-year-old girlfriend reportedly left during the initial argument, but returned later and saw the body. She contacted police. www.nypost.com
TEST SCREENS STUDENTS OUT OF MAINSTREAM
(October 12, 2004) An article by the New York Times reported a new state test for immigrant students, known as the English Language Learners (ELL), is leaving many students out of mainstream education. Last year, only four students, out of nearly 600, passed the exam to move into English speaking classes. However, more than 60 of those failures had passed the state Regents exam in English; the test used for college-bound students. To pass the new test, a student must score 71 out of 74 points, or 96 percent. The Regents test requires 55 out of 100 points to meet city graduation requirements. www.nytimes.com
DISPUTE ARISES OVER REAL INTENTIONS OF ACCUSED STUDENT
(October 13, 2004) A story from the Marshfield Mariner in Marshfield, MA, said police had received reports that 16-year-old Tobin "Toby" Kerns was planning a massacre at Marshfield High School that would pick up where the killers at Columbine left off. Police found hand drawn maps in the Kerns home detailing the locations of the school's gas mains and key exits he would padlock shut to prevent students and faculty from escaping. Denise Lunn, the mother of Kerns' girlfriend said that if he was involved at all, it was during a period last spring when he was struggling mentally, right before he sought treatment.
YOUTH COURT STARTING IN HURRICANE UTAH
(October 13, 2004) The Hurricane Valley Journal in Hurricane, UT, reported that volunteers Shannon Wendt of Five Counties, AOG, Linda Sappington of AmeriCORP, and others are striving to provide a Youth Court in Hurricane. The program encourages teens to demonstrate their ability to be resourceful accountable individuals, and aware that their choices in life determine the quality of their life. The Youth Court will allow first-time offenders an alternative to the juvenile court system. www.hvjournal.com
CLICK FRAUD THREATENS INTERNET ADVERTISING
(October 13, 2004) An article in Wired News raised concerns that the leading medium for fraud is Internet fraud, and the bogus click through of paid advertising could potentially cause google and other search engines using paid-for-clicks to drop this form of advertising. www.wired.com
TEEN COURT COMMENDED
(October 14, 2004) An article in the Iroquois County Times reported the County Teen Court program is giving youths in the community a chance to get involved and help their peers. Students are becoming jurors, bailiffs, lawyers and circuit court clerks to help their peers get back on track. Adults from the local probation department, lawyers and Juvenile Justice Council are assisting the teens in the court process. The students are gaining valuable lessons as well as insight from adults involved in the court process. www.watsekatimesrepublic.com/
PANEL: SCARE TACTICS DO NOT WORK
(October 15, 2004) An Associated Press story, posted on the Dallas Morning News, reported that a 13-member panel of experts, assembled by the National Institutes of Health, has determined scare tactics do not prevent crime and can make the problem worse. The report said, "Programs seeking to prevent violence through fear and tough treatment do not work. The problem with these programs is they bring together young violators and they teach each other how to commit more crime." www.dallasnews.com
TEEN TRAFFIC DEATHS INCREASING
(October 16, 2004) A Washington Post article reported that according to federal reports 15 teens die every day in traffic accidents. The study indicates the fatalities are linked to high-speed driving, alcohol and a failure to wear seatbelts. Statistics show almost 31 percent of teenage driving fatalities were alcohol related and 74 percent were not wearing seat belts. Fatal accidents involving people between ages 15 and 20, rose 5 percent between 1993 and 2003, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death among teenagers. www.washingtonpost.com
FEDS REQUIRE WARNING FOR ANTIDEPRESSANTS FOR CHILDREN
(October 16, 2004) An article in the Washington Post reported the federal government is officially ordering that all antidepressant drugs carry a prominent "black box" warning. To alert doctors about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior among children and adolescents using these medications. Clinical trials showed that children taking antidepressants have a four percent risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, compared with a two percent risk among children getting placebos, said regulators at the Food and Drug Administration. Controversy has dogged antidepressants for more than a decade, but most psychiatrists attributed a patient's suicidal thoughts and behavior to illness, not medication.
RAPPER RETURNS TO NEIGHBORHOOD TO HELP AT-RISK TEENS
(October 18, 2004) In a story in the Times Ledger, rapper Ja Rule launched the Love Ignites Freedom and Education Foundation (LIFE) to provide struggling teens with an incentive to stay in school and succeed. "It's hard growing up where I come from," said Ja Rule, who grew up in Hollis, NY. He said this foundation was put together to give kids a second chance. Foundation Director Erica Ford said LIFE takes the students with the poorest academic, attendance and behavior records and gives them access to counseling, arts, literature and other extra-curricular programs. The program's ultimate goal is to create a 10-day camp in Puerto Rico for the teens. www.timesledger.com
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