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Kids Who Bring Guns to School

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: There is a lot of information out there on kids and guns but I have not found a single answer as to WHY kids bring guns to school. Many give several reasons but all fail to find out directly from the children as to WHY! Thank you.

A: Researchers at the federal government's NIMH and NIH agencies interviewed many children as to why they carry guns to school. The overwhelming response is protection. Of course there are kids bringing guns to school who want to establish a "tough guy-gangsta" image more than they want to shoot someone. Yes, kids report that this is the only way they feel they can gain respect. But over and over, kids say the main reason they bring guns to school is to protect them from real and/or potential violence.

In case anyone still thinks that school gun problems and school violence are an "urban problem," the most significant rise in school violence and school gun problems is taking place in the more well-to-do suburbs of our nation. Disaffected and abandoned youth are killing each other in alarming numbers; I think it is both a public health epidemic and a national tragedy.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


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