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It’s time to hold teens responsible

Chris Yarzab

Chris Yarzab

Kavya Desikan, Social Media Manager

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On August 28th, 2017, an eight-year-old biracial child was assaulted by a group of white teens by hanging him from a tree in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The incident occurred while an eight-year-old boy was playing in a local park with his older sister. After a group of white teens coaxed the boy into sticking his head into a noose, and after taunting him with racial slurs, they pushed him off the picnic table from where he stood, leaving him to hang as they left the scene. After the boy’s sister called for help, he eventually wriggled out, escaping an attempted lynching.

This was not an accident. This was not children playing. If a group of teenagers has a history of harassing children with racial slurs, and then said child is found gasping for air after freeing himself from a noose, it was done intentionally. It is actions like these that show the impacts of racial slurs in America, and why parents need to intervene when racist and other abusive behavior puts individuals at risk.

When parents and teachers stay silent about the language used by kids, it is a form of complacency. Sure, your first amendment right states you can say whatever you want, but words mean something, and words can easily turn into actions. Actions that harm or kill.

In Westford, there is a habit of turning a blind eye to the racial slurs commonly used by students, but if students are using and believing the words they speak, there is a large possibility that it could snowball. If it can happen in New Hampshire, it can happen here. Our schools and our communities promise safety to their students and faculty, but they need to educate their youth. If a teenager hangs a child, there should be no first warning, they should be held accountable. Teens know that doing things that harm others is bad and in this degree, illegal. So why do we protect them?

Well, according to many adults and in a similar statement echoed by Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase., it is so that it does not follow them to adulthood. And frankly, that’s a terrible lesson for youth.

If I get a C in my geometry class, it will follow me to college applications because it pertains to my academic history. Using the same logic, if a teenager knowingly commits a crime that has the possibility to kill, it should follow them to adulthood. Why? Because as teenagers, we know that murder and assault is bad, and it’s quite easy to avoid those actions as well. Offenses like these pertain to your criminal history.

Teens need to be held accountable for the abuse they cause others, be it emotional, physical, or mental. Parents need to stop defending these actions by their children because if they want what’s best for their teen, they will know that issues like this cannot be solved by a forced apology and slap on wrist.

As teens, we beg to be treated like adults, to which our parents will say that we must act like one to be treated as one. So, if a teen knowingly commits a crime, then they should be treated as an adult under the eyes of the law and society.

Stop defending teens and their “mistakes”, teach them right and wrong before incidents like this occur, and let them face the consequences if they do something wrong.

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