The video was striking: Four teenagers beating up a fifth teen during a violent encounter at a church parking lot in Ossining. At some point local cops said the kid taking the beating got a seven-inch gash across his neck. A 16-year-old girl is also punched in the face, and is threatened with more, at which point she walks away.
This was from a story we ran in recent days. Police said neither of the teens were seriously injured: The gash was apparently not very deep. The video itself, which was posted on YouTube by one of the kids later charged in the incident, has since been pulled off the Internet.
So, why is this on a parenting blog? Well, my very first thought when I saw it was, ‘Oh my God. What if that was my kid?’ It’s a horrifying thought. And what if it was one of our children doing the beating, since peer pressure can be a powerful draw?
To be fair, here’s what doesn’t worry me about this incident: It seems to be a “gang assault” in circumstance only. That is to say, it was a group, or “gang” of kids who are charged. They weren’t Bloods, or Latin Kings, or Hell’s Angels. They weren’t a real gang in the most frightening sense. It was just a group of kids seemingly beating another.
But that’s enough for me. It should be enough for all parents. Because regardless of how the criminal justice system deals with it, it is unacceptable, frightening and brutally dangerous. And it scares the heck out of me.
It doesn’t help when the act is downplayed, as seemed to be the case with a “New York Times column”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/nyregion/02towns.html?ref=nyregion on this in yesterday’s papers. Was too much made of the incident by my own newspaper? Some might think so, but I don’t. Should the Times have spoken to the Ossining police and not just one of the arrested teens, his parents and his lawyer? Some might think not, but I do.
Because while I know that schoolyard fights are going to happen, it shouldn’t happen this way. We, as parents, should care about it.
Print | Email | 3 Comments »