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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Youth speak out on violence

Two-thirds of young people have experienced emotional violence, one-third have been bullied and 8 percent have been attacked with a weapon at least once in the past month.

That's what 1,001 fifth- through 12-graders said in a survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute and The Colorado Trust, which indicated:

• Emotional violence triggers physical violence. Youth described teasing that's beyond playful and cruel putdowns.
• Youth feel the need to join in because of a peer culture that celebrates sameness. They argued for accepting people's differences too.
• Youth who have positive relationships with parents, teachers and friends are less likely to be victims or aggressors.

One-fourth called for safety measures, such as gun control, better security and stricter punishment for offenders. The study offers recommendations in Youth and Violence: Students Speak Out for a More Civil Society (for a copy, call 212-465-2044 or see www.familiesandwork.org).


Informal policy poll

Evelyn Dolven, a member of Christ Lutheran Church, El Cerrito, Calif., led a workshop on violence at the Western States Youth Gathering in San Jose, Calif., in July. Twenty-one participants gave opinions on public policy that indicated:

• 20 "yes" and 1 "no" for a policy to require gun buyers to hold a permit or license that includes a written test, fingerprinting and demonstrated knowledge of handling a firearm.
• 17 "yes," 2 "no" and 2 "don't know" for a requirement that every gun be registered and that all gun purchases require buyers to have a background check.
• 13 "yes," 6 "no" and 2 "don't know" to allow the government to set safety standards for the manufacture of firearms.
• 13 "yes" and 8 "no" to set a minimum age of 21 for purchasing a firearm.


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