Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Widespread support necessary to end community violence

There is no ready prescription to safeguard youth from violence and substance abuse. But a recent survey of teens in Hillsborough County shows what the public has long known: Schools cannot do it alone. Neighborhoods and community members of all socioeconomic backgrounds must step up and nurture youth, letting them know that adults care, are willing to stand up for them if they are violated, and will take them to task if they cross the line. These elements are essential to rebuilding communities in which youth often feel disconnected from their neighbors and lean heavily toward prescription drug and alcohol abuse, all triggers for violent behavior. Adult involvement matters, and the entire community must find ways to become engaged.

Nearly 2,000 Hillsborough County teens participated in the survey released earlier this week that was designed to assess their risk for violent behavior and their resilience to factors that might negatively influence them. The teens represented the district's 27 traditional high schools or were enrolled in adult education classes or participating in a court program. Those surveyed sounded off on everything from the presence of gangs in their neighborhoods — 100 percent of respondents said gangs existed in their communities — to safety, where more than 60 percent of students said they would go outside more if their neighborhood were safer. School safety provided one of the brightest spots in the survey, with 98 percent of teens saying they felt they belonged at their school.

The survey was commissioned by the Hillsborough County Violence Prevention Collaborative, a diverse group of politicians, lawyers and law enforcement officials that formed in 2013 following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The collaborative aims to prevent violence from occurring in Hillsborough, and in a report released Monday the group suggested ways to combat violence. Their suggestions included strengthening families and communities by providing support in areas related to mental health, substance abuse and jobs. The group also wants to engage the broader community and to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods plagued by violence.

It is easy to view these kinds of findings as evidence of someone else's problems, with lofty goals that have little possibility of becoming reality. But if the community is to improve, all stakeholders, whether they have children or not, need to pitch in. The geographic diversity of teens polled in the survey showed that the issues this generation faces are not limited to a few problematic ZIP codes. Their concerns are widespread, and no neighborhood is exempt.

The collaborative's inaugural report contained good ideas and useful data. Its members should keep going and connect their vision with successful programs that are already operating in communities around the country. These are proactive steps that the entire community should encourage and support.

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Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

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Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

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Published: 05/16/18
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Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

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