Time For Change

written by Kris Costa

The hearts at Mindset are deeply saddened by recent events at Umpqua Community College.

Unfortunately, it is my belief that this will not be the last school shooting to take place. The rash of violence spreading across the nation against our schools and the innocents within is nothing short of evil.

My appreciation goes to the first responders, medical responders, crisis centers and others, whose grim tasks now include and necessitate drill upon drill of reacting to such domestic terrorist emergencies. No longer carrying an element of sheer surprise, these tragedies have become scenarios whose practiced responses are now a matter of protocol in our American culture. The re-enforced skill sets of our task forces, and other emergency preparedness teams and individuals have no doubt increased the likelihood of surviving such a horrifying scenario, however, much needs to be discussed and implemented to avert the terrorist act in the first place. It is not enough to deal with the after effects. These occurrences MUST be eliminated. It is my opinion that the most influential to facilitate effective change in our own schools lie with us, the civilian public.

I often wonder how many parents have asked the serious questions to our schools regarding  security and preventative measures, and if so asked, what are the responses?

Our government representatives and the like, will address various talking points around gun control, mental health, etc., all of which are vital and valid and necessary discussions to have,  for quite some time to come. However, let us not forget that it is not the government’s responsibility to appoint school security to all the schools in the nation and regulate it. Our Legislative branch will provide rules to govern society, and the Judicial branch will set ramifications when violations occur. The police and others will respond to such violations. However, the job of keeping our schools safe lie with us, the proactive general public. It simply is not acceptable or effective to wait around in fear for someone, or some other body of people, to do the job we need to be doing, which is stand up for safety of our youth and other personnel in schools.

If you are a parent, have you questioned your child’s school on security procedures? Do you know what the procedure is concerning lock down? Do you know if those procedures are drilled with any regularity? What situations are covered? Most importantly, how is the school addressing preventative measures? How is the school physically secured? Are there increased security measures in place?  Are there “No Gun Zone” signs posted? Does your school believe that is a deterrent? Would they consider additional preventative security measures if the budget for such could be supplemented? Would you pull your child/young adult out of the school if you were not satisfied with their answers? Is there a parent group formed and it is applying pressure  (and support) to the school to make the hard decisions and take serious action?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Do your children know how to adapt to life where they hear about school shootings in the news regularly? Do they really feel safe? And there is so much more.

If it is not worth the effort to find the answers to the above, and more so, to do everything possible in our power to protect our children in school, then we may loose a lot more lives waiting for others to address these issues on our behalf. I believe in prevention, and it begins in our own neighborhoods. Speak up, form a collective, offer solutions, pressure the schools to respond, financially contribute. It’s not about who “should” be doing what, it is about doing the best we can and now. Lives matter.

There are so many facets to the issue of school violence and violence prevention. Enforcing physical boundaries against it, before it happens, may just be the easy part.

Here is the real question: If we could go back to the day before each school shooting, knowing what we know now, would there be one thing that could be done differently?  If the answer is no, then there is no need to pay attention to this post.

~KBC

Bully Proof Your Children

Bully

by David Bravo

Being a victim of bullying myself when I was young, I understand the effects bullying can have on a child’s life. All the motivation that a child has to succeed in school, sports, and any endeavor in life, comes from a child’s confidence and self-esteem. A bully robs a child of those very important attributes, and that can have a negative impact on the rest of their life.

Of all the memories I have of growing up, the times I was bullied remain some of the most vivid of all my memories. I can still tap into the emotions I felt in those moments. Lets first make sure we have a clear understanding of what bullying is and is not. If someone calls you a name, teases you about something, attempts to manipulate you for their benefit, or even puts their hands on you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting bullied.

There are plenty of mean, selfish people in the world who do and say such things to people. Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, single one person or a group of people out, and routinely aggravate, belittle, humiliate, intimidate, abuse, etc. that person or group. Bullying is usually not a one-time, isolated incident. It typically continues for days, weeks, or even months, if not dealt with.

Bullies are often misrepresented as children with low self-esteem, or children who suffer from abuse at home. In fact these categories make up a very small percentage of the bullies who are out there. According to the book, “Bullies and Victims in Schools,” by Valerie E. Besag, 96% of children will be bullied at least once in their lifetime. Of those children, 46% will suffer poor grades or will abstain from extra-curricular activities because of the bullying.

I want to help you give your child the confidence, self-esteem, and knowledge needed to defend themselves against bullies. Teaching children self-respect and self-worth are where the help must start. Instill in children, a belief system whereby they can say “I am valuable and worth protecting.” Furthermore, 2% of those children will commit suicide because of constant harassment from classmates.

When those beliefs are instilled in children two things occur:

1. They will have the confidence to stand up for themselves when faced with abuse.

2. They will realize the value of respect and will be less likely to bully others.

HOW TO HANDLE A BULLY

This is an integral part of our philosophy at Premier Martial Arts. It is in understanding conflict that we can begin to overcome problems, and prevent it. If conflict should arise, we have the option of neutralizing it quickly and humanely. Over the years, we have devised this simple and effective program to resolve conflict and give the student a way to resolve a conflict peacefully and walk away with dignity. A great teacher taught me that the best way of self defense is to “have no enemies”. This is the basis for this guide.

MAKE FRIENDS. The person with the most friends always wins! If, through kindness and respect, diplomacy and charm, we set out to be the friendliest student at our school, we are less likely be bullied. As parents, we can help our children build these valuable social skills through modeling and role playing.

TELL EVERYONE you have a problem with this person, especially parents and teachers. If any trouble arises, everyone will know who created the problem. It is the responsibility of the SCHOOL to keep our children safe from bullying. Some schools claim to have a “ZERO TOLERANCE” policy. But many times this is just lip service. You can’t prevent bullying before it happens, and schools don’t expel every student who bullies others. However, if bullying is reported by your child, the school MUST take action immediately to address the situation. If it continues the bully must be removed from the school.

AVOID. Keep away from the bully. Don’t return harsh insults, or looks. Stay out of the same room and simply don’t listen to their comments. You can’t be bullied if the bully isn’t in your presence.

DRAW A LINE.Teach your child to create a safety cushion if someone bullies them or makes them feel scared. When someone is bullying you and you can’t get an adult involved, it’s best to take action as soon as you can. If someone calls you a name or puts their hands on you, tell them to stop. As you get older you will learn the importance of handling problems when they are small. Remember, it’s a lot easier to blow out a match then to put out a forest fire. Do not ignore problems. If your belly hurts, tell your mom, if you’re having trouble in school, ask the teacher for help right away and if a bully is picking on you, take action and tell them to stop. Bullies want to pick on easy victims who won’t stick up for themselves.

If the bully continues, then you will increase the volume of your voice and put on a more intense facial expression. Once again create space, and in a louder more confident voice say: “I said, don’t touch me!!!”Tell them: “I don’t want to fight, but I will protect myself!” Show confidence, get double arms distance in between you and them and put your hands up.

NEUTRALIZE. This means to run away, defend yourself and do whatever is necessary to keep yourself from being injured. No one has the right to hurt you. And no one has the right to put their hands on you in an aggressive manner. You DON’T have to wait for them to attack you before you take action, but BE CAREFUL!! If you don’t have the fighting skills to protect yourself, don’t fight. It will only lead to you taking a beating and getting further humiliated. Instead, get the training you need to protect yourself. While nobody has a right to hurt you in any way, YOU are responsible for your own personal safety and developing the skills necessary to protect yourself.

Premier Martial Arts

Offering the finest in family martial arts, our Personal Achievement Program focuses on human development. Our proven character building Black Belt Success System instills empowering life skills including:

* Self Esteem Building – promoting healthy attitudes and well being about oneself 
* Focus Skills – promotes increased concentration and listening skills which improve grades
* Discipline & Respect – instills good habits at home & school

* Self Control – to focus energy in a positive manner
* Goal Setting & Achievement – to break through limitation

For seminars or information on classes where these strategies and more are taught, call Premier Martial Arts at:
(602) 909-0840.

Juvenile Criminal Law Issues

juvenileLaw

by Magnus Eriksson

Juveniles are treated a bit differently than adults under the law. Generally, the juvenile system is geared more towards goals such as rehabilitation and second chances, and the adult system more towards punishment for criminal acts. Usually, juvenile defendants are not entitled to a jury trial, instead their cases are “bench trials” where a judge determines whether they are guilty or not. Here in AZ, the judges in juvenile court are often very experienced judges who spend the last few years of their careers on the bench on a less hectic assignment than heavy civil or adult criminal trial dockets. That for the most part ensures well-measured actions in response to criminal acts. Prosecutors in juvenile court, on the other hand, are usually relatively inexperienced, although a few grizzled veterans are thrown in for good measure. The defendants in Juvenile court are under 18 years of age when the (alleged) crime is committed, (there may be exceptions in some states) but some times they can be incarcerated beyond 18 years of age. In federal court, a juvenile can in extreme circumstances be incarcerated until they turn 26!

The range of punishment for acts of juvenile delinquencies can lead to participation in diversion programs, a period of probation or incarceration in juvenile prisons. “Diversion “is a program where in exchange for successful completion of a class such as substance abuse treatment, shoplifting deterrence programs or violence intervention classes, the charge is dismissed. Juveniles can also be charged and punished as adults for serious crimes. If a crime is initially charged as a juvenile offense, then the state decides to charge the juvenile as an adult, the accused has a right to have a transfer hearing, which could lead to a judge denying the request for transfer. The kind of crimes where juveniles are charged as adults are things like murder, gang shootings, rapes, drugs sales, child molestation, vehicular manslaughter and the like.

Some charges are unique to juveniles, such as curfew restriction violations, under age alcohol possession or use. Other crimes, like criminal speeding are applicable regardless of age, the only difference being the nature of the proceeding.

Juvenile convictions do not count against the person after they come of age. Often the records are sealed and only available to law enforcement entities. This system enables a person who has been in trouble to start anew without a public record of their past. Adult criminal systems usually do not have this type of mechanism. Sadly many criminal defendants commit crimes at the age of just over 18 years old, which can cause difficulties the rest of their lives. In some states, some adult convictions can be expunged after a certain period of time.

This is not an option here in Arizona. Here, one can ask a judge to vacate and set aside the judgment. Voting rights are restored this way and gun rights can be, unless the conviction involved the violent use of guns. Some type of charges are not technically juvenile charges but still deal with offenses where the perpetrator is too young to do something such as minor in possession or consumption of alcohol. Such charges are often dealt with through diversion programs but other related types of charges such using fake ID to get into bars, being considered “a crime involving moral turpitude” can stay on ones record forever depending on how they were charged. Driving Under the Influence charges are another issue that can be charged as a juvenile crime, if the person is under 21, or it can be charged as an adult offense when the person is over 18. The Under 21 DUI requires only the presence of alcohol in ones system the alcohol need not impair one’s driving. These types of offenses typically cause collateral damage such as driver license suspensions, revocations or restrictions such as requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device, sometimes for several years. Additionally, car insurance rates can increase or policies can even be cancelled.

While juvenile misdeeds are mostly secret after the age of majority, contemporary America is so complex and there are laws against virtually all conduct, it is important to be aware that the collateral effects of a conviction are often more severe than the direct punishment. In today’s soft job market a past conviction can make it very difficult to get a job or at least a job to one’s hopes and qualifications. Therefore it is imperative that we teach our children to be alert and cautious and aware about what they should and shouldn’t do. Of course, this can be much easier said than done. Not only is it easy to become a perpetrator of crime, it is also easy to become a victim of a crime. The electronic means of communication are marvelous but they can also be used for nefarious purposes. Adults pose as kids and try to arrange meetings with minors, personal information is stolen or obtained through deception, and then is used to fraudulently obtain credit cards and other financial benefits. Kids take pictures of themselves naked and text them to their boy friend/girl friend and in so doing possess and distribute child pornography. They are both perpetrator and victim of a crime and often don’t realize it! People text while driving and cause an injury accident because of the resulting inattentiveness to what is happening on the road. Such crimes require no Intent to cause harm, just recklessness. Harassment, bullying and other despicable acts are perpetrated using texts, instant messaging and other electronic means of communication.

Sometimes the laws are underdeveloped in these areas, although many “old” laws are directly applicable to these types of crimes and successfully used to punish perpetrators.

-ME