Incidents involving unruly teens lead to more discussion about solutions

Video from Sunday night outside of a local rec center has the community concerned.

The young people involved have been called a flash mob and criminals but activists in the neighborhood told FOX 29's Bill Anderson a different story.

They're challenging neighbors and community to stop judging neighborhood kids and instead get involved helping them, For Goodness Sake.

"I call it Lord Of The Flies syndrome, absent and devoid of trusted adults we leave young people to their own devices," Professor Chad Lassiter explained.

Most of the conversation over the last day or so at Lonnie Young Recreation Center is about an unscheduled gathering here that was organized on social media that turned bad pretty quickly.

Hundreds of young people gathered leaving neighbors frustrated and intimidated and ended with police being called to the scene. It was the second time in a month an incident like this had occurred, so now the discussion turns to solutions.

"We need to connect to our children, instead of pointing fingers and hiding behind windows and making calls let's go out there and talk to these kids," Michael James explained.

Michael is a mentor in the area. He followed his own advice and spoke to the teens and found that the gatherings were not what everyone seems to think, they actually began with the best of intentions.

"The Northwest Raiders is a Pop Warner Football team, three time national champion, every year they have a cookout and this year because of lack of resources they weren't able to have one," Michael explained.

After being told they couldn't have a celebration, friends and supporters took to social media to try to do it themselves.

"There was no negativity around it. Ignorance on the youth not knowing that they needed to have permits but they just wanted to get together and have something to do on a Sunday night," Michael added.

Michael's organization Regular Fellas Foundation has an event at Lonnie Young rec center coming up for young people largely because he believes that the issue isn't bad kids, its lack of opportunities and mentors. Professor Chad Lassiter agreed.

"It's easy to put it on young people because a lot of the adults don't want to do the hard work to listen to what young people have to say," Lassiter explained.

There are no excuses for the few who confronted police but he also believes that instead of labeling teens as criminals, we need to embrace that old saying it takes a village.

"There are enough of us who look at the narrative and say they're not my children but I still want to invest in them because they are the future, they are the moment they are the now," Lassiter added.