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FORUM ADDRESSES WAYS TO SPOT POSSIBLE VIOLENCE AMONG KIDS.

Byline: John Sanders Daily News Staff Writer

In the first of three post-Littleton, Colo., public forums, school and sheriff's officials told parents what signs can provide advance warning that a teen may be troubled and potentially violent.

Displaying cruelty to animals; preferring violent television shows, movies or music expressing violence; drug or alcohol abuse; depression or severe mood swings; and a history of truancy, suspensions or expulsions all can be warning signs, sheriff's Deputy Jeff Adams said.

Adams, who works in the Sheriff's Department's Lancaster crime prevention office, told his audience Tuesday night at Lancaster High School that it is important for teen-agers to get support from family and school.

Adams also said that students play an important role in coming forward and letting school administrators know about potential violence.

``We want to encourage kids to come forward,'' Adams said. ``It's really in their best benefit to do so.''

A second forum will be held at 7:30 tonight at Highland High School, 39055 25th St. W., Palmdale. The final forum will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Littlerock High School, 10866 E. Ave. R, Littlerock. The forums were organized in the wake of last month's shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

``We really believe that this is an important aspect of providing the community with assurance that our schools are safe, and we're doing all the things necessary to keep our schools safe,'' said Antelope Valley Union High School District Superintendent Robert Girolamo. ``We believe very strongly that we've got a safe environment here. We need to bring it forward and let parents, teachers and people know that what we do in terms of this is serious, and we take action accordingly.''

Girolamo said that there are plans to hold similar forums at least twice a year on each campus.

``We want to keep this on the front burner so we don't lose sight of this and become complacent,'' he said.

Girolamo said he hopes to meet with other school superintendents in the Antelope Valley to organize similar forums at other schools.

People in the audience agreed that providing information to parents should be a continuing process.

``I think this was extremely important, and it should be carried out on an ongoing basis,'' said Abdul Majeed Askia, who works with youths throughout the valley. ``There's no one particular approach that will resolve the problems that we are confronted with. So when we look at it (a problem) from all these different angles it's the full picture. It will certainly serve in resolving what we are confronted with.''

WARNING SIGNS IN YOUTH

History of tantrums and uncontrollable outbursts

Characteristically resorts to abusive language

Habitually makes violent threats when angry

Previously brought a weapon to school

Background of serious disciplinary problems

History of drug or alcohol abuse

On the fringe of his or her peer group with few or no close friends

Obsessed with weapons or explosive/destructive devices

History of truancy, suspensions or expulsions

Displays cruelty to animals

Little or no supervision or support from responsible adult

Abused or witnessed abuse in the home

Bullied or bullies peers or younger children

Blames others for problems

Prefers television, movies or songs that express violence

Prefers reading materials expressing violent themes

Reflects anger, frustration and the dark side of life in writing

Involved in a gang or antisocial behavior

Often depressed or has severe mood swings

Threatens or attempts suicide

PARENT/FAMILY SUPPORT

Take an active role in your child's school

Act as a role model; set the example

Listen and talk with your child regularly, realizing the realities of ``their world''

Prevent unsupervised access to firearms in your home

Set clear limits on behavior

Communicate clearly on violence, emphasizing nonviolent problem-solving techniques

Help your child learn how to examine and find solutions to problems

Discourage name-calling and hateful behavior

Insist on knowing your child's friends

Work with other parents to develop standards regarding school related events and the appropriate adult supervision

Make it clear you support school policies and discuss your support with your child

Source: Lancaster sheriff's station

CAPTION(S):

2 Boxes

BOX: (1) PARENT/FAMILY SUPPORT

(2) WARNING SIGN IN YOUTH
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 13, 1999
Words:695
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