THERE has been an overwhelming response to the front page story in Saturday’s Coffs Coast Advocate about the problem of anti-social and violent behaviour among some youth in Bellingen.
The looting of the Faerie Laura shop in the main street by three girls aged 14, 15 and 16 was the catalyst for the story in which Bellingen retailers and residents called for more police resources in the town.
Police said there had been no reduction in resources in Bellingen and echoed the thoughts of many people that poor parenting was the reason why some kids ran off the rails and engaged in unacceptable and illegal activities.
Following are extracts from some of the emails received since the story was published.
The following was from Judi White-Singh.
“As a mother and grandmother I have had first hand experience with violent behaviour and a young person who has taken drugs of many kinds. My youngest daughter started to go off the rails when she was about 12.
She and some ‘friends’ were caught wrecking a public BBQ area lights system but when the time came to reprimand her she got a civil word and I got the bill! After that I struggled to maintain control over this child, being there for her every time she went to court, supporting her in many ways to try and stop the illegal behaviour and giving support in schooling, money, social etiquette and family assistance. After 14 years of my support she now resides in a correctional centre while I raise her three children.
In my mind I know it is hard and harsh but that first court magistrate should have done what the last one did and put her in for intensive behaviour control schooling and modification. Slapping her on the wrist and saying you must not do this again was clearly not enough.
Kids will continue to abuse alcohol, drugs and create havoc unless we the ‘adults’ take control of them. The animal world is a tough environment – if a young pup does the wrong thing in its environment the ‘adult’ gives it a kick, bite or swipe with its paw and grabs it by the back of its neck and puts it back in its lair. We need to get tough on these kids and put them back in their lairs.”
Janet Smith made the following observations:
“I think the community has had enough of this stupidity and these kids’ lack of discipline and respect but how can kids know respect without having a father and mother to show them or discipline them in the way they should go. Irresponsible parents are breeding irresponsible kids who are nothing but totally selfish.
These kids don’t know any other way to live. Education should be teaching children how to live through life and with people. If the example at home does not display that attitude at least they will get it at school.
I feel sorry for the police who have their hands tied but would like to give them a swift kick up the you know what, like they did in the old days.
I believe they cause destruction because in their mind they hate the world, they hate what’s happened in their life, and think the world doesn’t care about them and take it all out on innocent people.
Therefore I propose an idea.
Local police stations should have a point system for underage kids who cause any harm towards the community. Every time the children get caught offending they get points against their names.
At age 18 they have to repay the community for the points they’ve earnt by doing community work or working for the dole. If they don’t do the community work the law is applied to them as the adults they are.
I believe if these kids realise that in the end they will pay for their behaviour and suffer the consequences.”
Slapping her on the wrist and saying you must not do this again was clearly not enough.