A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the neck in Atlanta. What is happening and can we stop it?

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

With the terrible news that a Price Middle School student was shot today in Atlanta by a classmate, I thought I would share Chicago Teachers Union President and National Board chemistry teacher Karen GJ Lewis’ statement about a shooting in Chicago Tuesday in which a high school student died.

King College Prep student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. while walking through a Chicago park with a dozen classmates. The teens had been dismissed early from their high school classes after finishing their finals. The group had dashed under a canopy in the park when it began to rain. In an apparent case of mistaken identity, a gunman running through the park opened fire on the high school group, killing Hadiya and injuring two other students

A member of her school’s majorette team, Hadiya had just returned from Washington after performing at an inaugural event.

(The official statement from APS on the shooting here Thursday: Around 1:50 p.m. today, Atlanta Police responded to reports of a person shot at Price Middle School at 1670 Benjamin Weldon Bickers Drive in southeast Atlanta. On arrival, officers discovered a student had been shot outside of the building. The student was transported in stable condition to Grady Hospital with a gunshot wound to the back of his neck. He was alert, conscious and breathing on transport. Family members have told authorities he may be released as soon as tonight. A suspect, tentatively identified as a fellow student, was immediately apprehended by a school resource officer – an off-duty Atlanta Police officer – and taken into custody. A weapon, a small caliber handgun, was recovered at the scene. Charges against the shooter are pending. A school employee suffered minor injuries immediately following the shooting, though she was not wounded by gunfire. No other students were injured as a result of the incident. Identities of the victim and shooter will not be released due to their status as juveniles. The incident, including the motive, is under investigation by the Atlanta Police Department. Preliminarily, it appears the incident was the result of a previous disagreement between the juveniles involved.)

Here is Lewis’ statement on Hadiya’s murder:

“This has been a trying week for our brothers and sisters in Chicago schools and all of us at the Chicago Teachers Union. We had these same feelings after losing Heaven Sutton, Aliyah Shell, Tyquan Tyler, Nazia Banks and the other nearly 60 children under the age of 17 who were senselessly cut down by violence last year.

“We have much pain in our hearts, but the most sorrow comes in the fact that unless something is done right now by all of us who have some influence in these young lives, this is pain that we are sure to feel again.

“I spent much of yesterday morning visiting with students, teachers and administrators at King College Prep, the school Hadiya Pendleton attended before her young and innocent life was taken Tuesday afternoon. The King community is, to put it simply, devastated. Hadiya was 15 years old and a smart, bright girl—a drum majorette and a Latin student—with no limit to what she could have achieved in the future. To those who loved her, she was a daughter, a sister and a friend.

“As I spoke to teachers at King, each of them had their own way of reflecting and reacting to this tragedy, but they all viewed this incident through the lens of, “What can we do that’s best for the children? How can we protect our kids?” Hadiya wasn’t skipping school, nor was she in a gang. This is finals week at King, which is why she was out of school so early that day. She went to the park with some friends. That’s what kids do.

“The prevalence of violence on our streets is starting to reduce the wonderful qualities that kids like Hadiya possess—qualities we all want in our children—to homicide statistics. As an educator, I empathize with the teachers for whom the aftermaths of these incidents are grave daily realities. We’re living in a society that’s completely out of kilter. Our children feel disrespected and their outsized response is violence. They’re given no methodology for learning how to cope with their anger.

“Our city can no longer ignore its duty to protect our children. This is a refrain that echoes each time a child is shot down, but at some point, the status quo and the violence must end. I’m tired of hearing the narrative that says parents don’t care about their children. The combination of poverty and violence is a dual punishment for us all. But what about the working poor who have little time to watch over their children because they spend 12-16 hour days providing for their families? Some of their children are among those who feel unsafe and angry at society for not keeping them safe. So they lash out. Again, that’s what kids do.

“In our neighborhoods, we suffer from the scars of violence and not being able to ask people for help when we need it. This creates disconnect between communities and solutions. We must stop propagating a war on drugs. It’s been an abject failure and has created many ancillary and unintended consequences. Prosecuting ‘offenders’ in the war on drugs only has made the situation worse.

“We also need to stop adhering to the theory that if you go work hard and do for self then everything will be fine. This hasn’t proven to be true. We must establish a widespread concept of respect in our young people—ways to earn it, negotiate it and positively deal with and learn from its absence. We need a second war on poverty in our country, and job creators need to bring employment to our low-income, impoverished communities. Jobs give life meaning.

“Children need productivity, because productivity is what a mentally and physically healthy child will crave. I look at regions that have succeeded in reducing violence against children as models, such as Venezuela and its classical music education enterprise, El Sistema. We must guide our children in channeling all of their anger and hostility into something positive, train educators to help parents be successful at what they do and reclaim schools as the anchors of our communities.

“We all need to be part of these solutions. The union works with most—if not all—of the schoolchildren in Chicago every day, and we know that agencies of influence must honestly engage in dialogue with principals, teachers and paraprofessionals and school-related personnel members in their schools to gather an idea of what needs to be done to combat violence within building walls and on the street. We are not only experiencing the loss of young lives, but also widespread trauma among family, friends and communities. Clinicians, and in particular social workers, counselors, psychologists, and nurses, are often left out of discussions despite having the expertise on the aftermath of these tragedies. All too often, there is a one-day ‘grief counseling’ event when students and staff are at the height of shock, but the real need for wrap-around services and grief therapy occurs weeks and months after the event.

“Our members and members of the community are the eyes and ears these agencies should be depending on, in addition to engaging students to learn what their personal fears are regarding safety, bullying and gang recruitment and retaliation. This is the same concept applied to neighborhood watch—everyone’s fight, everyone’s victory.

“It is imperative that we continue to explore and work together to see how we might make a difference in our city, where there are an alleged 164,000 gang members infiltrating our neighborhoods and streets. We welcome a call from CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy to solicit the input and assistance of our members, because Hadiya is more than a statistic to us. She is family, she is innocence lost, and while we are not foolish enough to think she will be the last member of our family to perish, we will continue our efforts to fight for the more than 400,000 students in CPS so they have the opportunity to learn and grow up as leaders—and protectors—of future generations.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

133 comments Add your comment

Starik

January 31st, 2013
6:41 pm

Gangs. Gangsters. Wanna-be Gangsters.

A Teacher, 2

January 31st, 2013
6:44 pm

What is happening is that we have a generation of kids raising kids that have had little consequence to bad behavior. Someone has taken care of every need and most wants, and the kids have no conflict resolution skills. They turn to the police or weapons of some kind to solve every problem that comes up. …..And, we all put up with it. The answer is pretty simple. We, as a collective society, have to stop putting up with this unacceptable behavior. Call it what it is, and stop all the politically correct babble enabling and/or excusing unacceptable behavior. It is the only way our society can survive!!

agent

January 31st, 2013
6:45 pm

The only way to stop this is to make prison hell. Make prison so bad that people will be scared to go there. Right now, the reward for committing a crime greatly outweighs the punishment for getting caught. But, this will never happen bc of all the PC crap and how criminals have rights.

concernedmom30329

January 31st, 2013
6:50 pm

In Chicago, no one is being caught. The community isn’t helping the police with any regularity and so the Gangs rule.
No easy solution there until the culture changes.

Mountain Man

January 31st, 2013
6:51 pm

Take guns away from _ _ _ _ _ People and it wouldn,t happen.That would be the best gun control ever. Get them out of the woods.

MiltonMan

January 31st, 2013
6:58 pm

“This is finals week at King, which is why she was out of school so early that day. She went to the park with some friends. That’s what kids do.”

BS! My kids and their friends are studying their rear-ends off even after finals to be prepared for the next semester and/or reading a book of choice or the “required reading” that schools are given to the students.

“The combination of poverty and violence is a dual punishment for us all”

Good God. Being poor is a punishment??? How about bad life choices? If you are poor in this country it is your own damn fault. If you cannot “succeed” in this country, you will not succeed anywhere.

Meli

January 31st, 2013
6:58 pm

Stop the NIMBY. The ‘Not In My Back Yard’ refrain all jurisdictions hear whenever they suggest building a new jail. States and cities need to start using Eminent Domain to build as many jails as they need, and they need to tell the communities they don’t care what they think when building them.Then you take the criminals who use guns during their crime, and you put them in jail–whether it’s a bb gun, a water pistol, or a cannon, if a victim believes it’s a gun, it’s a gun–and you don’t give them bond. They stay in jail until their trial. And if they’re convicted they serve every single day of their sentence with no parole. That will drop the crime rate.

10:10 am

January 31st, 2013
7:07 pm

Fact: The death toll by murder in Chicago over the past decade is greater than the number of American forces who have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom.

ref: http://tinyurl.com/be7ye6u

Last year alone that amounted to over 500 mostly young, mostly black victims. The mainstream media meanwhile largely ignores the bloodbath … because Chicago is a Democrat-run city and the adopted home of Barack Obama.

Jameson

January 31st, 2013
7:14 pm

I read an article where Miss Pendleton’s classmates said the after school program (cancelled) was the only safe place for students in the area. Now today we have a shooting inside the school.

So which is it? Are students safe inside the school or outside the school?

Nowhere is safe. Stuff happens.

indigo

January 31st, 2013
7:16 pm

As long as we have the best Congress money can buy, little or nothing will actually be done.

Lee

January 31st, 2013
7:18 pm

But wait, Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. It should be a cold, windy utopia, right?

Summary of Chicago gun laws:
• To possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police
• An applicant is disqualified if he or she has been convicted of a felony or an act of domestic violence, is the subject of an order of protection, has been convicted of assault or battery or been a patient in a mental institution within the last five years, has been adjudicated as a mental defective, or is an illegal immigrant.
• When a firearm is sold or transferred, the buyer is required to present their FOID card. This applies to private sales between individuals as well as to sales by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders.
• The buyer is also required to present their FOID card when purchasing ammunition.
• The city of Chicago requires registration of firearms. Residents must complete a firearm safety course, pass a background check including fingerprinting, and pay a $100 permit fee which is renewed every three years. Registration of any handgun assumes an additional one time fee of $15.
• Cook County and the city of Chicago have separately banned the possession of “assault weapons”, and of magazines that can hold more than 10 or 12 rounds of ammunition respectively.
• No concealed carry permits are issued and residents cannot openly carry.”

Basically, Chicago has disarmed the law abiding citizens and allowed the gang-bangers and criminal element to roam at will. They had what, over 500 homicides in 2012.

Lest ye forget, Morton Grove Illinois passed restrictive gun laws back in the 80’s which prompted Kennesaw, Ga’s famous law that mandated gun ownership. Morton Grove crime rate continued to climb while Kennesaw’s plummeted.

Melissa

January 31st, 2013
7:18 pm

MiltonMan – you truly have no idea about poverty. Your lack of empathy is telling (and also un-religious – if you choose to extend your self-righteousness to a day of worship).

The bottom line is that we do absolutely no good by marginalizing people that we have absolutely no idea about. You may think that shame is the way to change behavior but it simply excludes those on the outside even more. Accountability should be a focus but we have enough of those issues at all levels of society to pigeonhole one group.

I suggest you find some empathy.

Old timer

January 31st, 2013
7:19 pm

We have an under culture of violence…movies, games, music…until we acknowledge this we cannot fix it. It is not the guns. It is the gangster mentality. Thugs, bad boys, and so one are cool. Not families, church, scouts. I think the absence of families seems to be the biggest problem. I taught for a long time and I noticed the change in the family structure seemed to create the biggest problems in the schools.
Another issue is mental health. There is still a stigma asking for help when you know your child has mental health issues. And, whe you do finally ask…there really is little help. Finally the child turns 18 and you can do nothing to protect society or your child…even if you admit to the problem.

Old timer

January 31st, 2013
7:23 pm

Also, blind parents who think their own child can do now wrong…they are perfect. They do not want to hear anything and they have spent their life fixing the kid’s problems and everyone is against them. Tell that parent their child has mental health issue….they want your job.

Violence abounds

January 31st, 2013
7:27 pm

Chicago has one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation and also one of the highest rates of gun violence in the nation. Get it. Gun control doesn’t work.

Once

January 31st, 2013
7:27 pm

Enter your comments here

Once Again

January 31st, 2013
7:33 pm

The shooting in Chicago not withstanding (as it just happened to be a student), but seriously, when are you parents going to finally care enough about the health and well-being of your children to finally take them out of these government violence centers/prisons/schools? How many more shootings, rapes, molestations, drug arrests, cheating scandals, grade inflation stories, etc. are you going to need to read/hear about before you finally realize that they are happening at government schools for a reason – the general failure of government and the basis of its existence in violence itself. Government is not about voluntary cooperation. It is not about free choice. It is not about individual liberty or freedom. It hides itself behind the violence of democracy – or the victimization of the minority by the majority – and makes that concept sound appealing, but in the end, it is just about violence and conformity.

Get your kids out while you still have a chance to reverse the damage that has been done.

[...] violence hurting city’s image? ABC7Chicago.com A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the head in Atlanta. What is … Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) The Grio -WGNtv.com -Niagara Gazette all 248 news [...]

Old timer

January 31st, 2013
7:39 pm

Melissa…Poverty is a choice…..get your education or skill. Get married have children….there are choices. Many of us have made them…our children have made these choices…or not…..
A hand up is not the same as a handout…

Old timer

January 31st, 2013
7:43 pm

@once again….AMEN

South Georgia Retiree

January 31st, 2013
8:03 pm

This violence is the unfolding of many decades of escalating trouble, and it is pushed along everyday by all our social ills…(fill in the blank). While a culture of violence has been building, our country has added 280 million guns to the brew, and here we are, scratching our heads, asking questions, and trying to figure it out. The solutions will be painful to both sides in the current debate because to solve it will require all of us to sacrifice something. To do nothing is to admit that it’s unsolvable when really it’s not.

Amy Tripp

January 31st, 2013
8:07 pm

Everything can be done to stop this, but nothing will be.

RealityMom

January 31st, 2013
8:08 pm

If you have to spend 12-16 hours working to provide for your children, then you probably couldn’t afford to have them. Like Old timer said…..education, job, skill, marriage and then kids if you can afford them. We would have loved to have 3 or 4 but could only realistically afford to have one…..so we did.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:09 pm

@ Melissa

are you saying that being poor stops people from being able to make solid moral decisions?

how every arrogant on your part.

Pompano

January 31st, 2013
8:12 pm

Gotta agree with @agent on this one. Also, the use of a gun to perpetuate any gang violence should result in the death penalty.

However, Illinois did away with the death penalty… a correlation perhaps?

Also interesting that the head of the Chicago teachers Union – which went on strike earlier this school year and left thousands of kids out on the streets to fend for themselves – would pretend to care about the safety of the students.

bradjohnson

January 31st, 2013
8:15 pm

CULTURE. The cause is easy the solution no one wants to touch.

indigo

January 31st, 2013
8:17 pm

Chicago’s gun control laws have one big flaw.

They don’t do anything to stop guns comming in from outside the City and State.

mountain man

January 31st, 2013
8:17 pm

The shooter in the Georgia case should be tried for attempted murder and aggravated asssault in adult court and hopefully will be sentenced to life in prison. However, it is more likely that he will be released at 21 to commit more crime.

How many times does a Fulton or Dekalb County prosecutor even ASK for the death penalty? In maybe 2% of cases, if that. In most of them, the death penalty is not given. There is no punishment given that is suitable for the crime. Couple that with kids who think they will most likely be dead before they turn 20 and they just don’t CARE. Kids whose parents don’t care (most likely don’t even know who their father is).

bradjohnson

January 31st, 2013
8:18 pm

I DARE ANYONE AT THE AJC TO LOOK INTO THE CULTURAL MAKEUP OF EVERY PERSON ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN ATLANTA. YOU WON’T DO IT WILL YOU? AS LONG AS WE ARE AFRAID TO DISCUSS SOMETHING YOU WILL NOT SOLVE IT. PC ANYONE?

mountain man

January 31st, 2013
8:22 pm

“In Chicago, no one is being caught. The community isn’t helping the police with any regularity and so the Gangs rule.”

It is call the “no Snitch” rule. They deserve what they get. Just keep it to yourselves. The rest of us will get really mad if you bring it to us. We don’t “no snitch” – we make sure you get what is coming to you.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:31 pm

knowing I’ll be crucified for this, but doing it anyway….

here’s the basic issue. there is a subculture of violence which runs through certain elements of our society, and it manifests most brutally in the black inner city community.

why? simple. they want it to, and larger society enables it.

this black inner city subculture (obviously not all blacks, nor even all inner city blacks) decries education, hard work, and most everything civilized people consider normal or worthwhile.

the music is violent
the interpersonal relationships are violent
the entertainment is violent
personal validation comes from acts of violence, or projecting the ability to be violent
rappers who die violently are more revered than people like King, Mandella, or Lewis
Scarface is more popular fictional character than Marcus Chaplin
Michael Vick is a cult hero. so is Ray Lewis

anyone remember Little B? tween thug who killed a man in front of his family for “disrespecting” him by not turning his car lights off

its not that this subsection of society can’t integrate, they make a point to choose not to.
“keepin’ it real”

try to draw attention to the issues, and you earn the label of racist. even if you’re black. have the gall to suggest this subcommunity is dysfunctional and you are crucified.

irony of it all is, the people who work so hard to protect these animals are the people most often preyed on them. followed very closely by the part of society who works to perpetuate this hell. white guilt liberals.

why are there so many young blacks in prison? simple. they are disproportionally doing the stinking crimes. and usually on their own community.

until society allows us to call this issue what it is, and until the larger black community gets the testicles to actually do something about it, not slogan it, not protect it, not excuse it

the beats just gonna go on.

maybe when one of these animals kills someone liberal white guilt American cares about, then we might have movement. but I doubt it

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:36 pm

@ south Ga retiree

if you think I’m sacrificing my guns, guess again.
I have never fired them at another living thing, but for the very reasons you laid out, I’m keeping the option open.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:39 pm

since someone somewhere here is gonna call for banning something, lets ban teenagers.

mountain man

January 31st, 2013
8:42 pm

Hey, I just noticed I got namejacked! That first one was not me!

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:44 pm

@ mountain

one of the reasons the community isn’t helping is because the moment Chi starts arresting this animals, some civil rights attorney is there claiming racism. it becomes catch and release.

even if the community was willing to help, the perp is gonna be back on the street faster than
the cops can tell the citizen.

BIg Hat

January 31st, 2013
8:44 pm

When we all have guns, we won’t need cops or school “resource officers”. Think of the cost savings! No cops, no judges, no courts, no prisons, no lawyers, no sheriffs, no justice delayed, no justice denied. And plenty of job creation in the mortuary industry, a win-win for all law-abiding citizens.

Maureen Downey

January 31st, 2013
8:46 pm

@Bootney, In the last three days, we have the old white guy in Gwinnett who shot the poor young man who turned up his driveway by mistake. We have the old white guy in California who killed a doctor he had never met before because he was unhappy with what another doctor did. We have the old white guy in Phoenix who killed an attorney and critically injured two other people and we have the old white guy in Alabama who killed the school bus driver and is now holding a 6-year-old hostage in his bunker. (This guy also beat a dog to death and shot at his neighbors, yet somehow was not in jail.)
How do you explain this culture of violence?
Maureen

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:54 pm

@ maureen

took you longer than I anticipated.

sorry, this deflection isn’t gonna wash, despite your best strawman. we were talking about school violence. I understand you need to move the goalposts to help defend your position, but that’s a big flat fail on your part.

however, if you actually read my comments before you started your rebuttal, you might have noticed I indicated at the beginning this subculture of violence runs though society, with a particularly bad manifestation in the inner city black community.

nowhere did I indicate it exists just there alone. I was sticking with the topic at hand.

boy-pwned in your own column. ouch

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:56 pm

and a great big thanks to Maureen for stepping up so quickly and illustrating the while liberal guilt deflection machine.

very well done indeed.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
8:58 pm

since it was brought up, and will be whined to death…white people are evil, too. we discuss the evils of white people almost daily and somehow the white liberal guilt deflection machine doesn’t seem to mind.

but God help us if the topic turns toward a black person who fits a liberal guilt machine agenda

Family Guy

January 31st, 2013
8:59 pm

People need to accept the fact that in order to put an end to this violence the government, community, and society need to declare war on these worthless people. They have no purpose and should be treated according to how they act. Coming from poverty I can tell you first hand that it’s tough BUT the toughest thing about growing up in that situation is making the decision to want a better life and being smart enough to know that the only way to get it is by using your brain and not a gun.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
9:01 pm

can anyone here tell me what OJ killed Nicole with?

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
9:03 pm

can anyone here tell me the weapon of choice in most violent crimes?

bradjohnson

January 31st, 2013
9:09 pm

Liberal Maureen attacks Bootney with anecdotal evidence and refuses to look at the statistics. Look who is committing the vast majority of the crimes- I dare you. Call APD and ask for their homicide statistics Maureen. You won’t because it does not fit your liberal agenda. Funny how you do no research and throw out anecdotal evidence. Pitiful. Kind of like back in the day when you defended APS and Beverly Hall before it imploded. The evidence was everywhere but you turned away. Thank goodness others at the paper looked under the hood.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
9:09 pm

since the evil old white man was brought up, its a good time to remind everyone a vital part of bringing this issue in line is a more honest and matter of fact dealing with mental illnesses.

while some are just mean, most people who do things like the animal in Alabama (white useless troll that he is) is due to a mental issue which is untreated or diagnosed. mental illness still carries a strong social stigma, is expensive to treat, and is an insurance killer.

and with so many being easily treatable with a small amount of medication which isn’t even expensive.

white, black, brown, straight, gay, whatever. leaving out the subculture of violence, most people who do heinous things are ill before they are evil

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
9:13 pm

@ brad

I knew when I typed that I was gonna get called everything but a child of God (thanks, Neil Boortz, I stole that from you). but I’m willing to take the heat because it must be part of the discussion if anyone ever wants to seriously solve these problems.

yes, there are a whole hell of a lot of white people who fit the violent subculture. most of them are aryans or klansmen. they, however, are not usually shooting up schools, or their own communities.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
9:20 pm

something to ponder….

its well known I worked at GPC for a lifetime until I was downsized due to the IMO criminally fiscal actions of white people. GPC is a defacto minority school. I have time and time and time and time and time again held these kids (mostly black and immigrant) up as examples of hardworking, dedicated students who are gonna be a welcome addition to US society.

and the crickets sing.

however, let me be frankly critical of a subsection of that community……

Interesting Observation

January 31st, 2013
9:20 pm

@bradjohnson

January 31st, 2013
8:18 pm

And that will make it all go away, or will it just feed your self fulfilling prophecy?

Truth in Moderation

January 31st, 2013
9:26 pm

Citizens, you are losing your “grip”….and the 2nd Amendment along with it!
CALL THE SENATORS! Expose the unlawful document!

http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/feinsteins-plan-bans-any-gun-with-a-grip/

mom3

January 31st, 2013
9:29 pm

Children will have access to guns until you prosecute the gun owner as though he himself pulled the trigger. Pitbulls will continue to maul innocent children until you prosecute the dog owner as though he himself attacked the child. If you cannot be responsible enough to own a dangerous weapon – DONT OWN THE WEAPON!