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'Let’s Talk Parenting' | Parents, activists discuss solutions to crime among youth

Councilwoman Tina Vick said this is her way of bringing parents into the equation of trying to stop this problem.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Two months after police say a 6-year-old shot his Richneck Elementary teacher, and following multiple guns being brought into schools all over the area, many are wondering what can we do.

Wednesday night, more than 30 parents, teachers, school board members and activists tried to answer that question at a forum hosted by Councilwoman Tina Vick. 

Entitled "Let’s Talk Parenting," Vick said this is her way of bringing parents into the equation of trying to stop this problem. Vick called the forum a "judgment-free zone" to help parents who might be struggling with raising their children.

Councilwoman Vick said it's unfair to put the responsibility on one entity or person to solve this problem. She said parents aren't the only solution but said addressing behavior at home, helps stop the cycle.

One panelist said it is vital to get the parents invested in schools.

"The relationships the schools have between the schools and the community is very critical. If we have failing schools, you’re going to have failing communities," said Damion Wilson, a Hampton Roads social worker.

Wilson told the room full of people a big part of the problem is people often don’t want to take responsibility.

"There’s nothing wrong with holding children accountable. There are roles for a reason," Wilson said.

A common theme throughout the night was a lack of discipline, whether at school or at home.

"We cannot be afraid of our children. We can’t be afraid to talk to children," said Darlene Walker, CEO of Catapult Parent Education, LLC.

Newport News School Board member Marvin Harris said 90% of the parents who email him about their child getting in trouble are just looking to vent to someone.

"Most of the parents need assistance in other areas… and the child becomes almost a burden to that parent," Harris said.

Others chimed saying at the end of the day, it comes down to building relationships with both the child and their parents to bring everyone together.

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