Holy Moley! Look at tonight's quote in the DDT from our public schools' superintendent: "I feel like Mr. Brady and myself can be used to show young boys and girls who participate in gangs that there comes a time when you can put down your weapons and you can be on the same team and do the right thing. "Nice sentiments, but---this is Greenville, Mississippi, not New York or Los Angeles.
WHY is our school administration having to acknowledge gangs? Can you picture either Rodney Brown or Paul Artman (administrators at the private and parochial schools) saying anything remotely similar?
This is so far removed from my everyday life---it's no wonder that I don't connect with the current woes of the City Fathers. (City Fathers....right. They're rolling in their graves.)
Sociologists tell us that teens join "gangs" today to seek respect, support, protection and a sense of belonging. In the 1950's, those things were provided to us by something we called a "family". The breakdown of the family unit is the underlying cause of 60% of Greenville's socio-economic problems.
If one's morals, values and judgements are imparted by one's "parents", you can see why we have a problem in the Delta. For many kids today, "parents" are viewed as a diverse group of adults, moving in and out of your life, who may, or may not, be related to you and have very little interest or regard for your welfare. Morality is a thing that adults preach, but don't practice.
Sure, gangs are a reality and they are at the root of much of the crime and drugs in Greenville. They serve as surrogate parents to kids who have no other role models from which to learn. Ignorance begets ignorance... and thus, the circle is unbroken.
Rodney and Paul should consider themselves lucky not to have to address the issue of gangs in their schools; however, to dismiss their existence in the community would be pure folly! Ten years ago school administrators totally denied the existence of gangs in our schools. At least now they are beginning to acknowledge the "2,000 pound elephant in the room."
As for our "city fathers rolling in their graves"... perhaps. Then again, they may have the best seat in the house!