Best Prep Is Staying Away
If you are a long time reader, you know that I work in school safety for a large, urban school district. Yesterday evening, we had a 13 year old boy shot and killed in broad daylight. Since I started working there about 6 and a half years ago, this is the 22nd student to get murdered. That is a terrible statistic, and I really feel for their families. However, the majority of those that have been murdered have done something to get themselves in that position. Only a few were "innocent victims."
Gang violence is a scourge that is really destroying our cities (and is gaining ground in suburban and rural areas as well). It's often a combination of poverty, broken homes, drugs, media influence and even generational tradition... but it also draws in upper-middle class kids from "good" homes.
I often speak to PTA groups or individual parents and the best way to keep kids out of the gang life is to be involved with them. Ask questions; know their friends and their friends' families; monitor and participate in their social media; spend time with them. There is a cop-out saying from the "career" parents who say that quality time is more important than quantity time. That's BS. All and any time with your kids is important... as much as possible.
Having your kids involved with sports or activities is fine, but it can't substitute for time with you. If you don't spend time and be involved with your kids, someone else will. And that someone is likely to be a piece of garbage.
I'm sure that the vast majority of If It Hits The Fan readers don't need to hear this, but pass it around to your neighbors and coworkers who think that their kids are immune to bad influences because they are on the honor roll or go to church.
Sorry for the downer this evening.