Do we need to have this conversation right now? Do we need to talk about our kids bringing weapons to school? Yes, we do. Recently, A 14-year-old girl took a gun to school. Let that settle in. A student at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley Unified took a loaded gun to school.
My first thought was, “who does she feel like she needs protection from? Is she being bullied?” Bullying is never a good reason to bring a gun to school, but at least it makes some sense to me. I have a lot of questions: Is she in a gang? Was it her gun? Her parent’s gun?
Whatever the case, I need to make something clear. Ladies and gentlemen, our kids are not okay. There’s a lot going on for them and we need to be mindful of this. We might not know what compelled this young lady to bring a loaded gun to class, but it’s clear that she’s in crisis. She was arrested and is currently being held in Juvenile Hall, inducting her into the school-to-prison pipeline system.
The fact is it’s a crime to bring a loaded gun to school. We all know that. However, any emotionally intelligent adult can see that this 14-year-old child needs HELP, not incarceration. Instead of criminalizing confused young people by disappearing them into Juvie, Restorative Justice programs offer an opportunity to get answers and resolutions that don’t involve putting impressionable, developing minds in prison. With restorative justice programs in place, disciplinary problems can be resolved through cooperative and constructive measures.
Several schools throughout the country have already implemented restorative justice programs to help decrease the number of students being injected into the criminal justice system. It’s time for Moreno Valley Unified and districts throughout California to consider these options because what scares me more than children bringing guns to school is thinking we can take care of the problem by disappearing those “problem” kids.
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