Black Community Leaders Troubled By School Incidents

In the wake of all the protests over the Trayvon Martin shooting some people have criticized black community leaders and politicians for taking a stand in the Florida case while ignoring issues of violence and unlawful behavior that take place their communities everyday. But with the just released video of a fight at Thurgood Marshall High school in Fort Bend county, some leaders here in Houston say enough is enough and are calling for change at home.

State Representative Sylvester Turner stood before a microphone with at least twenty other politicians, school church and community leaders behind him. He read a long list of disturbing events that have happened locally dating back to last year.

"Twenty five HISD school bus drivers recently called for more discipline of rowdy students. The drivers say the students carry weapons, fight each other and even attack the drivers themselves. This week a south Houston high school student was accused of filming another in the bathroom. He planned to post it on Facebook. And so it's one incident on and on and on."

It was Turner who brought these leaders together after seeing the recent fight at Thurgood Marshall High School that was taped by another student. Turner says enough is enough.

"Bringing weapons to school, engaging in disruptive behavior on school buses, bullying and fighting on school campuses, breaking into homes, or cars are not acceptable in our communities."

Congressmembers Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee also weighed in on the situation.

"Too many children know and don’t want to be labeled a snitch. It’s time for parents to teach their children that if they want their children to be safe, they’ve got to make sure other children and their children as well report potential acts of violence."

"For many of us who went to schools just a few years ago, we’d have a little knock down or we’d be in the principal’s office. Today our kids go out in an ambulance."

As for answer to the problem the leaders talked about holding teachers and principals more accountable. But they also used well known addage “it takes a village.”

State Representative Harrold Dutton says it may "take a village,"  but the most important person is the mom and dad who provide discipline.  

"That’s why I passed a bill that said a parent has the right to use corporal punishment to reasonably discipline their child. That’s what the law says now."

Dutton says discipline is important but academic achievement is just as, if not even more, important to ensuring good behavior.

"I don’t know the young lady who was involved in the fight out there in Fort Bend. But I guarantee you she’s not an A student. I guarantee you she’s not a B student. And so my point is the schools district and the schools have to do a better job of educating our kids. Because if they do, then children achieve better and as a consequence they are less of a disciplined problem."

Having interviewed countless numbers of educators, I mentioned to Dutton that many of them would probably say better educating all kids including troubled kids isn’t always that easy as it sounds.  To that Dutton responded, "nothing worthwhile is ever easy."