Young Teens Have Needs Too

Today I took the Sprinter to El Corazon. I waived my signs for a few hours on the corner of O’side Blvd & Rancho Del Oro and happened to talk with the kids who were walking.  Most had come from 2 different high schools & one from Lincoln middle school, with each having to walk a 1/2 mile or 2 miles either to or from the Sprinter station just to get home!

Here’s what they had to say:

Since there are no longer school buses, the Sprinter & buses should be free for students. These kids can’t afford the extra expense which creates more stress.

At 16, they are applying for jobs but don’t get hired because of their lack of experience!  They have applied to places like Target & Sears.

“Suppliers” get them weed and booze. This means older friends or friends of friends, not just random people.

Parents are not being good role models: some drink or smoke weed with them or around them. I am sure this is not universal but I was surprised when I heard this!

There’s a book that is required for an English class that is inappropriate & insensitive to black kids. It uses the N word throughout the book, talks of beatings and other unthinkable acts that this student found to be quite disturbing. She is black & to hear the N word from other kids and the teacher is just wrong and offensive. She is 16 years old.

Pot and edibles contain unknown levels of potency which is dangerous. If it was legal then the drug level would be defined so kids would not be unknowingly over-taking amounts of say, Liquid Gold.  They seem to think that if it were legal then it wouldn’t be so tempting. There could be a grain of truth here because at this age defiance against authority is common.

I asked when kids start and why they thought so many kids start smoking weed. …..Stress! Once you get to 7th & 8th grade, school workloads go up. The amount of homework can keep them up till 2am!

They feel like teachers don’t really care and that some don’t even pretend to care. It is when they get one that really tries to help them and push them to do better that they respond positively.

Teachers only focus on the CST’s and most follow their own curriculum and don’t even use a textbook. Now this is their perception and their experiences and does not mean that this is representative of an entire school system. Yet we need to take heed that there is the possibility that there is some truth to this. (I spoke with 7 kids, 3 different schools).

Oh and MONEY or their lack of is a HUGE barrier for things like sports, extracurricular activities and simply having access to a computer to do their schoolwork.

Since textbooks are almost null, reading and homework must be done on-line. Lower income kids get used computers that break down or outdated. Then they need to print out information and some don’t have printers and let alone the cost of ink alone is astronomical.

If they want to do sports, the uniforms, the cleat’s and the insurance just to play football is just unaffordable. When there are fundraisers, the JV teams have to give the money to the “best” teams (VARSITY) and hopefully they get some. It doesn’t seem fair to them because they don’t get the direct benefit of their efforts!

Fighting and gangs are troublesome. One of the girls I spoke to was originally from Eastside and the young girl that was recently killed was her friend. Her boyfriend was in ROTC and he was sharp & a well mannered young man.

This is the deal…kids are stressed out by many factors & they just wish things were more “chill”. We need to think about how we all can reduce their barriers to success and be much more supportive, especially during the pre-teen stage.

I know this was a lot but kids really have a lot on their minds!




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