Photo by Leo Jarzomb, Staff Photographer, Pasadena Star News
The caption on the photo below, which appears in the 13 March 2010 print edition of the Pasadena Star News, reads: “Drama class students rehearse “Skid Row” from “Little Shop of Horrors” during Blair IB Magnet High School’s after-school program on Wednesday. Officials say such programs help prevent crime by providing kids with constructive activities.”
Is there anything about the students pictured that leads you to believe that, had they not been singing and dancing, they’d be out in our fair city committing a crime?
Think about the message here: You better support after-school programs for kids or they’ll all be out committing crimes after school! Because we all know that’s what Pasadena Unified kids do!!! Just look at these potential criminals!
I’m all for after-school programs, especially ones that give kids an opportunity to express themselves artistically. So is Fight Crime, the organization (“an anti-crime organization of over 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, and violence survivors”) that is spotlighting this program at Blair.
But the reality is that the potential criminals are not in the photo above. The potential criminals didn’t make it past eighth grade—they didn’t make it to high school. My suggestion to Fight Crime and the Pasadena Unified School District is to identify the 7th and 8th graders that are most likely to drop out and provide them with everything they need—whether it be academic, emotional, or three hots and a cot—to stay in school. Because once a kid is out of the school system, (generally speaking) s/he’s a strong candidate for unemployment, under-employment, or yes, even crime.
Just quit suggesting that the sweet youth pictured above would ever think that robbing a bank is a viable option for a successful life.
PS Let no art Nazi complain about the lyrics to “Skid Row.”