No school, no job
On the opposite side of the socio-economic spectrum... a new Kids Count policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says that nearly 6.5 million U.S. teens and young adults are neither in school nor working. Youth unemployment is at its highest level since World War II, with the employment rate for teens between 16 and 19 falling 42 percent over the past decade. Of those young people aged 16 to 24 without school or work, 21 percent are young parents.
This is a big deal, the report says. This large group of what it terms “disconnected youth” are more likely to be unemployed later in life and less likely to achieve “higher levels of career attainment.” Researchers quote another study that calculates the total taxpayer burden for out-of-school and out-of-work youths ages16 to 24 at $1.56 trillion.
Time for the policymakers to get working.
Another bullying video?
Just when we were thinking it had been a while since we had written about bullying, out comes yet another video of aggressive teen behavior. This one, showing two brothers aged 13 and 15 beating up a 13-year-old special needs student in Nevada, was viewed approximately 50,000 times on the Internet before it was removed from YouTube. By Friday, the teens involved were arrested, charged with battery and pleaded guilty. A judge ruled that the boys will stay in custody until Dec. 18, at which point he will decide on a punishment.
So.... open and closed, right? Except – and here’s our rant again – this story is way more complicated than meets the bully-attuned eye.
Most scholars say that “bullying” involves both a power differential and a series of repeated attacks. The power differential is here, but we don’t know whether the victim had been putting up with these sorts of attacks regularly. If this was a unique act of aggression, it wouldn’t make the incident any better, of course. But it would distinguish it from bullying. Violence can be bad enough without that label, right?