Halloween idiots still a problem

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marguerite, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Okay, the Halloween saga about the local boys attacking the ice cream truck is continuing. Now the boy who apologised to me yesterday has posted again, apparently completely remorseless. Also apparently, the ban on FB from his parents is not holding. Should I let them know again? I get on well with the boy's mother, the dad was very aggressive but also angry at his son.

    I have not heard from my friend at all (mother of difficult child 3's friend and the original FaceBook friend poster). I rang tonight and left a message asking her to call me. I also began looking up other kids' names and spoke to one parent, will need to drop in a letter to another (I was planning on letting them know anyway).

    Other than that, I have just reported the thread to FaceBook as it contains racist, offensive comments. I would like to report more (such as these kids having lied about their ages to get a FB page while under-age) but there has to be a limit. I have not yet unfriended my young friend - I want to stay informed.

    I have been told more about these boys and what they did - they were also attacking groups of kids trick or treating, including the little girl across the street. She said they were chasing her and her friends to throw eggs at them.

    If nothing more can be done, then I will draft an article for the local paper. Not mentioning names (of course) but discussing the dangers of throwing objects, even apparently harmless ones, at moving vehicles. We had a news story about this just today - a couple of boys faced court over dropping a rock onto the highway which cracked a driver's windscreen. yes, that is an offence here. Also the illegality of expressing racist taunts publicly, of cyber-bullying and of then bragging about your illegal actions on social network sites. I know the editor would publish it (I'd probably get the cover), but I don't really want to have to deal with the woman. She might insist on me naming names (she's a bit strange).

    I also have increasing confirmation that some of the boys involved in Monday's incident were also involved in difficult child 3's getting attacked two years ago.

    I know this may seem trivial, but these kids are part of a longer-term local behaviour problem which is persisting because nobody has ever challenged it. It has now reached a point where I will not respond to them on FaceBook (I stopped responding after my second post and I kept my posts polite but "disappointed") but I also cannot let them think they have won. They MUST know that I have taken appropriate action and they did the wrong thing. I won't get through to them all - just one will do.

    I might have to see if I can persuade the truck driver to make a complaint after all, now I have names. Trouble is, I think he is scared. Frankly, I don't blame him.

  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Marg~ I know this just isn't happening on Halloween, but the potential for behavior like this is why most parents go out with their kids to trick or treat here. Here's how we do it since Duckie's friends are 10 and don't "need" a mom or dad right on top of them: we get a group together. It's been as small as 4 kids and as many as 12. At least two parents trail the kids: the adults need to see all the kids in the group at all times for safety reasons. We usually stay on the sidewalk as the kids run door-to-door. This also allows the kids privacy to chitchat without being overheard but with the safety of a trusted adult nearby. An example: most of the girls love to do spooky stuff like go through people's homemade haunted houses but are (rightly) uncomfortable to go into an enclosed area with people they don't know so one of the adults goes through with them and then the adult pulls back and lets the kids do their thing again. Another example: this year, one of our kids brought her family's adorable little dog out with us; she took turns with her parents walking the dog. Well. at one point, a teenager was walking her dog and taunted the little girl with something like "you better keep your dog away from my dog or my dog will eat your dog!", said in a very mean tone. The teen was a little shocked when one of our adults walked up to her and told her to take her dog home if it might attack and stop being mean to little kids, and next time pick on someone her own size. It was great to watch the teen's over-inflated ego quickly deflated. ;-)

    I think, though, the key is that parents must be compelled to stay involved and not allow their children (teens or otherwise) run in a pack abusing the neighborhoods. These kids seriously sound like they are on the path to becoming punks! Perhaps a neighborhood watch committee could help, or increased structured activities at a community center (basketball, homework help, dance classes, etc) or even the local police increasing patrols (preferably on foot or bike). It sounds to me like your neighborhood is probably a decent neighborhood but the teens are bored and unengaged... that leads to trouble. The key, really, is to sway the ones that are still on the fence back to being decent and law-abiding citizens. Then the "others" lose their power.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with TM and also think you should tell the parents again. For one, they really might not know how far this is going and should be notified if they don't. on the other hand, if they do already know but aren't doing enough to address it then it doesn't hurt to stay on them a bit to make sure they know you aren't going to accept this as an ongoing problem.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Tired mommy took my post right out of my head and typed for me, thanks....! better than DragonNaturally Speaking (the voice to type program)

    I think focusing on the specifics of this might, in the end cause you more upset and stress than it may be worth. I suspect, since these are not supervising parents they may bury their heads and blow you off. However, if it is an overall politcal issue, sounds like a more general, "take back the neighborhood" kind of (what we call here) Neighborhood Watch could be more beneficial. We have meetings, lead by the community officer and a lead neighbor (s). Once a year we have a big get together and fire, police K-9 etc. come. We as parents call eachother by prior agreement (for example at our complex pool no kids are to be unsupervised, if kids show up, we call eachother....We also offer to watch eachothers kids in settings like that and the kids are told that waht the supervising parent says goes...even if mom or dad would have said differently. Our complex is very very diverse. Middle Eastern, Nigerian/African, Pacific Islanders, Hispanic, White, AA, Indian (India, I haven't meat any Native American in our specific complex, but I dont know EVERYONE, smile). Many families are mixed like mine. Racism could be very ugly here. But fortunately these kids are very respectful in that regard. They ARE kids of course and they can be naughty and impulsive and do dumb things so that is why we watch them. Not all parents are on board and several of us take those kids even more under our wings. It really does take a villiage to raise a child. I think with your unbeievable passion, maybe you could start such a vision. The community can define what they want their neighborhood to look like. It sounds like it could be a fairy tale and all talk but I live in it and know it can work. True we did not have to come from a bad place to begin with, and that I know may make this impossible to imagine. But many areas in the united states have done things like this to help turn around their neighborhoods.

    I am sorry I dont know much about what your story is, so, Maybe this is what you are already involved with? It is just my experience so of course feel free to ignore if it does not apply to your situation. I just feel for you and your hurting about the injustices you are seeing and wanting to have changed. You have enough in your own life to not take on the whole neighborhood alone I would think. It is admirable that you care so much. All my best to you, Buddy
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Neighbourhood Watch used to be good here but is mostly defunct. However we do have another local organisation which can take this on, I think. They are the ones who set up Neighbourhood Watch and might do so again. Trouble is, they meet on a day when I am unavailable. However, we do have a really good local electronic newsletter which I now think will be the way to go rather than the local paper which, although it would publish my piece, might not get red widely enough. The electronic newsletter could be of far more use.

    I just posted a link on my FB page about this morning's news, about the two young boys charged with cracking a driver's windscreen by dropping a rock from an overpass. i added my own note of "This can start with kids thinking it's okay to throw things like water bombs and eggs, but any projectile can startle a driver and cause a serious accident. It's also against the law to throw objects at a moving vehicle."

    I don't think my young friend (almost former friend now, if I can't resolve this) will see it, and the other kids won't because they're not my FB friends. But my next step will be to post the same link and same comment on the village e-news, along with my report of the events. The parents of these kids do read that.

    And yes, I will drop in the letter tomorrow to the third family. I might leave it at that, then, as far as contacting the parents. But I do think now - if I had insisted two years ago on the meeting I asked the cops for, with the kids who attacked difficult child 3, then maybe we could have prevented these kids escalating. because in their minds, they got away with it. And difficult child 3 won't leave the house willingly. He stays home even on festival days.

  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    but you can share your concerns ahead of time and find out what happens during the meetings. You dont have to do this all alone. That is my concern for you. You seem so intent on changing the world alone. I admire it in all honesty....I just am concerned for you.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'll do that, Buddy. The web newsletter option will help. I know the people involved, I'll go talk to them. One of the advantages of small village.

    TM, making parents accountable is not necessarily going to help, it will just make the parents resentful. A lot of their unavailability is due to working hours, and parents trying to make ends meet at a time when their kids should be old enough to look after themselves after school for a couple of hours. The parent I tried to ring last night does not get home until 11.30 pm, the boy told me. That kid gave out way too much information to me, I suspect the boy was the culprit and not his older brother who was once a classmate of difficult child 3's. I did not give my name or number, I just let it sound like it was one adult needing to talk to another adult about adult business (such as the time of the next tennis game on the weekend). The kid did ask me for my name and number at the end of the call, but I said, "I't's okay, I'll drop in a note." I kept it light and friendly, the kid hopefully won't suspect. Or if he does, let him sweat. I knew if I left my name then it would tip the kid off and I'd bet dad would never be given the message anyway. And I chose not to tackle the kid over the phone in the absence of parents, I felt that would be inappropriate. But it was tempting to say, "Sonny, this is your FaceBook sins coming back to haunt you!"

    I'll track down the local media people today. Who knows? This issue could go further and may trigger a 'reclaim the streets' in other areas. Especially in our area, still with a nasty reputation for racist riots. Which just reminded me of another resource I have - the RSL. That is the Returned Services League, in the riots a few years ago, a migrant kid grabbed the Aussie flag (which other local thugs had wrapped themselves in to 'demonstrate their patriotism' and justify their behaviour as patriotic - it made me sick) by ripping it down off the RSL flagpole and burned it. Not a crime here, not at the time, although it did qualify as malicious damage.

    The RSL's response, after the legal dust settled, was to take that boy under their wing and educate him about what the soldiers did during WWII. They sent the boy on a Kokoda Trek, with media following. It not only worked on that boy, it worked on all who watched the footage and had been saying, "those migrant kids are dangerous and irredeemable."

    But for now - reclaim the streets. If enough parents/residents will be on board, then the fear of becoming a target (which is why people won't get involved now) won't be an issue. Safety in numbers.

  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Since they did many things, have you contacted police to see if ANY complaints were received that could be linked to them? Have they been made aware of the FB pages? If nothing else, they might want to be able to watch those pages.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I rang the cops twice, neither time did they want to do anything at all. I finally made the point of "what about other things that might have been done?" and the cop reluctantly asked me for the kids' names. I said I would go one better and email the screen dump, it had the names.

    So yes, they have a copy of the FaceBook page. I haven't sent them an update but there are no new names so there's no point. And since I reported the thread to FaceBook last night, it could even get taken down. I only reported it as a means to stop these kids from posting more and more on the thread.

    I have an idea - not sure if it is possible, but I will try it. If I 'friend' the cops, can they then post on this kid's thread? Because then the cops could see everything on my public page, and the thread should show up.

    I'd like to see these kids try to sass the cops back, the way they've been sassing me! It might be that little bit more that the decent kids need, to scare them straight!

  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Hmmm... you know what might be better? Upload that FB page shot to a stupid criminal site, then share that.
  11. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Hi Marg - I am not sure about where you are, but here in my area, they have a police scanner website for each county. Lots of policemen read and post there. I am actually a moderator of one. Do you think maybe you have one of those in your area? Do people have police scanners? That would be a great place to post it!!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Not sure, but I think police scanners are illegal here. And there is no website I could load this to that would do any good.

    But - I did say earlier, that I thought I might be able to galvanise local action according to someone's suggestion (sorry - tired, it's late). Well, tonight there was a leaflet/newsletter in the letterbox from the local chamber of commerce, and one of the points in their newsletter was concerns expressed for recent serious outbreaks of vandalism. I'm going to talk to them, see if I can get them on side. "Chamber of commerce" is a collective of local businesses, and they are very motivated to do something.

    I had to go out today, all I managed before I went out was an updated note which I added to the package and dropped in the letterbox of the third family. Still haven't heard back from the first, and I need to talk again to the second.

    I'm home tomorrow until lunchtime, I might get some action happening before I leave. Busy few days coming up and I have to get some of my own work done too.

    Thanks for the ideas, people. I really need you guys!