Communities in Crisis

Communities in Crisis: The Need for Operation Safe Child

In communities in crisis, often the real problem is that parents and community leaders are failing to take control of adverse situations. While it is true that many communities suffer complex problems that are difficult to deal with, there are many aspects that are under the control of ordinary citizens.  With the cooperation of the local government, law enforcement, and school districts there is much we can do to alleviate these problems.

Operation Safe Child

The State of Young Black Men

In “Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn,” the New York Times reports that “the share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990’s.  In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20’s were jobless- that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated.  By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts.  Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20’s were jobless in 2004.

Incarceration rates climbed in the 1990’s and reached historic highs in the past few years.  In 1995, 16 percent of black men in their 20’s who did not attend college were in jail or in prison; by 2004 21 percent were incarcerated.  By their mid-30’s, 6 in 10 black men who had dropped out of school has spent time in prison. In the inner cities, more than half of all black men do not finish high school.”

Child Safety and Victimization
A comprehensive national study, “Victimization of Children and Youth,” by Finkelhor, et al.. found that of children and youth ages 2 to 17, more than half had experienced a physical assault in the study year, more than one in four  a property offense, one in eight a from of child maltreatment, one in twelve a sexual victimization, and more than one in three had been a witness to violence or experienced another form of indirect victimization.

Operation Safe Child: Designed for Communities in Crisis
Governmental organizations provide suggestions for safety activities and safety instruction for children, but the field seems to lack much that is possible to be done with children to provide them with knowledge and activities to keep them safe.   Furthermore, little or no child safety literature seemed to be devoted to the safety needs and character development needs of African American children.

The leadership of local schools, by working together with local government and law enforcement can effect much positive change in the lives of the children they are charged with educating and protecting.   Not only can educators serve as teachers, role models, and mentors, but they have the power to make a real and needed difference.





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