Monday, June 15, 2009

Bergen Community College: Conversations with Bergen County Youth

On Thursday, June 11, 2009 over 100 community leaders, educators, law enforcement, parents, students and social service representatives gathered at the Bergen Community College Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre in Paramus, New Jersey to take part in The Center for Suburban Criminal Justice Conference on "Conversations with Bergen County Youth."

The event included participation from the Center's partner colleges:

  • Bergen Community College
  • Westchester Community College
  • Norwalk Community College
  • Humber College

Results of interviews and electronic surveys with nearly 3,000 high school, middle school and elementary school students from Bergen County were shared and responded to with lively interaction from the attendees. The information provided insights on gang recruitment, drugs, bullying, crime and internet safety, including:

  • 50% of 4th-5th graders shared that they have been bullied, mostly in the playground
  • 80.5% claimed that parents never supervise their Internet activity and gang exposure often takes place through social networking sites such as MySpace
  • Many students feel that their schools do not take bullying seriously and that teachers do not listen to their concerns on these issues and guidance counselors are too easy on bullies
  • 9th and 10th graders often have a casual attitude toward drugs and alcohol issues
  • Strong family ties are the strongest variable with helping youth avoid gangs
  • Gangs are inseparable from drugs and the reason for joining intensifies when there are problems at home

The leadership of Bergen Community College, especially through its President, Dr. G. Jeremiah Ryan, Philip C. Dolce, Professor Richard G. Kuiters and Shari Horowitz, is to be commended for their dedication to the youth of Bergen County.

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