The news has been grim for our community during the two weeks of Winter Break. At a time when children were home, in their neighborhoods, with families and friends celebrating the holidays, four teenage boys were shot to death in separate incidents. Two other teen boys were shot and survived.
This staggering number does not include the young victims of several shootings in the weeks leading up to Winter Break, including the tragic killing of two-year-old Carnell Williams, who was struck by a stray bullet while playing outside. This number also does not include the pair of 16-year-old girls, and the 17-year-old boy who were recently arrested, facing charges in the murder of a man during a robbery inside his home.
When a child or teen becomes the victim or perpetrator of a deadly act we must all stop, reflect, and take action. We at Miami-Dade County Public Schools have been working with partners and communities to prevent these kinds of crimes, and that work will continue.
As families grieve, neighbors fear reporting what they have witnessed, and police do their best to find and arrest the perpetrators. It is the responsibility of each of us to do all we can to support our young people.
We can begin by lending a hand to families who are facing challenges; offer to mentor boys and girls, young men and women who are without one or both parents; encourage lawmakers to create legislation protecting victims and a hard line against violent criminals; and assist those students who are struggling academically. When schools and communities unite for the benefit of children, safety nets are created with a path leading to success.
We owe it to these young people to do all we can. No one should come close to violence of this kind; especially those who have not yet celebrated their entry into adulthood.