Myths of the Juvenile Superpredator: Myth vs Fact.

Essay by jdmUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2003

download word file, 8 pages 4.0

Downloaded 77 times

The myth of the juvenile superpredator is being readily touted in the media these days. Newspapers, public speakers, television talk shows, and news programs, have created the idea that society is, or soon will be, bombarded with a generation of violent, apathetic, and unremorseful adolescent delinquents (Kappeler, Blumberg, & Potter, 2000, p.175). Kappeler, Blumberg, and Potter refer to this topic in chapter nine, "Juvenile Superpredators," (Kappeler et al., 2000, p175-195) of their text: The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice. The chapter first introduces the beliefs held by a majority of the population regarding youth crime and then goes on to refute those beliefs (myths) with fact. The facts that Kappeler et al. use to rebut the myths that there is a juvenile crime wave, that youngsters are becoming more violent, and that said youngsters are operating unrestrained in our communities and schools (Kappeler et al., 2000, p.175) can also be applied to the article in the Hamilton Daily News: "New fear in the classroom: Assault, threats, and even murder: Nova Scotia schools have become a battleground" by Peter McLaughlin (1996).

The Article

McLaughlin wistfully writes of a simpler time, "A generation ago..." (McLaughlin, 1996) when children were relatively well behaved and schoolyard scuffles were few. He contrasts this picture with images of today where students are more likely to batter not only each other but also their teachers with no guilt or fear of sanction. The article discusses the violence that present-day schools are supposedly entrenched in and the effects of this brutality on the teachers, administrators, parents, and students; specifically, that they are, "...Running scared." (McLaughlin, 1996)

It illustrates two incidents in which violence has caused disruptions in schools: A Halifax cheerleader attacked because of disagreement over squad captain and a Sackville student's alleged assault on his principle.