Wylie is Opportunity - Time to Tap It

What the hell are they putting in the water over there on the east side of Wylie anyway?  Yesterday I read the awful news that yet another heinous crime was committed by some Wylie East High School students.

Two students were arrested for choking another classmate to death and were caught running away from the location where they had dumped the boy's body and were planning on burying him.  This is just all sorts of sick.

In 2012 another incident occurred where two teens shot another student, tossed his body out of the second story window and dragged him over to the storm drain, attempting to stuff his body down it. Sick, sick, sick.

Finally, in 2009, a handful of teens killed a man by bludgeoning him to death with a hammer, hitting him so hard they nearly decapitated him. 

Seriously folks, our crime rate here has dropped significantly considering we are still adding to our girth.  The City added more police with last year's budget and are doing their best at retention through salary increases.  Yet these crimes are so evil, they steal the thunder away from any declaration of lower crime rates.

I got to see first hand how the folks in the Wylie East region live while walking the neighborhoods for Katrina Pierson's campaign. I know I complain about my little blue-collar neighborhood, but geez, it was nothing compared to some of the other neighborhoods on the east side of town. 

I reflect on this because our previous Superintendent and Board of Trustees were the ones to draw up the boundary lines between Wylie High and Wylie East.  I recall being a bit shocked at how some of the areas, like the low-cost townhomes off Westgate were 'pushed' into the Wylie East side. I felt as though the district had perpetuated a have and have-not rift somehow.

The problem with drawing boundaries in this fashion is that the lower-income families are congregated, causing more perceived competition for less perceived resources. Imagine a 16 year old testosterone-charged boy who is viewing what resources there are of the female persuasion.  Mix that with lower income families where the lack of opportunities cause strife and anguish, and you get a mix of violent urban blight that most cities with high concentrations of underprivileged are faced with.  Make no mistake, poverty-stricken areas have a higher rate of crime and its proven over and over again.

So what can we do about this? The school district does an awesome job mitigating bullying with their anti-bullying campaign. But is part of those teachings about the meaning of life?  Do those teachings encompass family values? It is pretty clear to me that the compass of family values is in the decline mode as more and more smut and garbage make it into our households through television, internet, tablets, and smart phones. What used to be a little double-entendre fun has now turned into practical porn for dummies.

So do poor parents care less for their students then middle-class or wealthy parents?  Doubtful. However poor parents are so overcome by the need to survive and pay the bills, that their parenting skills often lack somewhere along the way. Perhaps it is a lack of education or role-models.  However, nothing good can come from sending your child out of the house in the morning and allowing them to come back at dusk nary any knowledge of what they were doing all day.  Yet this happens a lot in lower-income homes where the dollar is stretched so thin, the decision to pay for daycare or food means they send their child to hang with some friends and hope for the best. This is a very uneducated miscalculation on the part of parents. This is where I believe the difference lies and it happens more often in lower-income families because they have less choices available to them.

Some things that can help are parent education so they know what resources are available. Supporting the Wylie Economic Development Commission in enticing more jobs in the area that pay well.  Promoting job preparation and training within the community rather than supporting low-income housing.  And supporting groups that make a difference by teaching values, and self-worth to students such as the Wylie Youth Council.

Contrary to popular liberal opinion, conservatives do not turn their noses up at providing social assistance.  We know that not only are plentiful jobs in a thriving economy they key, but that education is also crucial in helping these people pull themselves up and out of poverty.  This is why conservatives strive to educate others about the ills that come with degrading family values.  We also know that policies which hold people down are not beneficial to anyone. 

However helping others does not have to come at the cost of taxpayers.  There are many groups in Wylie that assist the less fortunate through volunteer efforts. The Christian Care Center, Friends of the Rita Smith Library, Wylie Art Gallery, Wylie Acting Group, Wylie Youth Council, and Wylie is Hope are just a few groups that could work together to educate parents and their students on self-worth and sound choices.  I see a great opportunity for these groups to not only work on feeding and clothing the students, but also nourishing an opportunity-starved population in Wylie.