More Teen Violence

Today I was on Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell talking about Wayne Treacy, the 15 year old boy who was arrested for beating 15 year old Josie Ratley to near death. Both teens attend Deerfield Beach Middle School, the same school where former classmate Matthew Bent and four of his friends were charged with attempted murder for dousing a classmate with alcohol and setting him on fire.

According to The National School Safety and Security Services the number of nationwide school related violent deaths have decreased from 33 in 1999-2000 to 13 in 2008-2009. But experts are reporting that when crimes are committed by kids they are increasingly violent.

It appears that we have the perfect storm of events. We have increasingly stressful home environments with a bad economy, children bombarded with violent images on television and in video games, a lack of face to face relationship with children increasingly relying on text messaging and email to communicate with friends and family, poor development of empathy skills among children combined with the impulsive underdeveloped teen brain. No wonder things are getting dangerous.

It is crucial that schools work to identify troubled students early and provide counseling. In the case of Wayne Treacy he has a father who has reportedly been arrested 43 times, a brother who committed suicide on his birthday, and the same day that he beat Josie Ratley unconscious, his girlfriend broke up with him. In retrospect it is clear that this kid was a time bomb waiting to go off.

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