Nip juvenile delinquency in the bud

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WHEN children under 15 rage in the middle of the night without the knowledge of their parents or guardians, the alarm bells must be triggered.

We can’t sweep this unseemly behavior under the rug and hope for the best.

In the West, juvenile delinquents are involved in violent crimes (murder, rape, gang robbery without firearms) and against property (vehicle theft, purse robbery and burglary).

Our juvenile offenders become rebels without a cause and get involved in illegal cycling (basikal lajak) and running in the middle of the night. Some are involved in crimes.

And the saddest thing is that the parents don’t know where they are and their misdeeds. According to crime statistics, a few years ago there were 1,632 cases involving students, of which 542 were violent crimes and 1,090 were property crimes.

The highest number of arrests were of people between the ages of 16 and 18.

Several hundred teenagers have been found to be living on the streets in Kuala Lumpur.

Youths as young as 15 have been found living in dilapidated, pest-infested abandoned buildings with homeless people, drug dealers and pimps.

These young people, who should be confined to their homes and attending school, ran through the concrete jungle and survived delinquency, drugs and prostitution.

Most of these street children come from broken homes and fled abusive parents and in-laws.

Some children have been abandoned by their parents, who are helpless and unable to control the children’s disruptive behavior.

These juvenile offenders cannot be prosecuted because they do not know the consequences of their actions.

So what do we do with these children involved in criminal activities?

Thank goodness for correctional institutes such as the Henry Gurney School in Malacca, which is like a prison where juvenile offenders spend time and are reformed to move on.

Apart from being a correctional institute, it also resembles a school where inmates resume their studies.

With dedicated and committed teachers, many of the school’s inmates went on to tertiary level education.

When students leave school, they are completely reformed and it is up to parents, families and society to accept them and give them a second chance in life.

The family unit plays an integral and important role in the physical, mental, spiritual and social development of children.

Most temperamental behavior comes from broken homes where parents have divorced or separated.

Although not all broken families produce dysfunctional children, almost all of these children are the product of a broken family.

Abuse begins and ends at home and children learn through observation and exposure at home. Violence begets violence.

Parents and schools need to be more responsible and actively involved in the social and intellectual development of children.

They must monitor children’s activities and instill a culture of caring and caring.

Samuel Yesuiah

Seremban

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