DESPITE EVERYTHING YOU
READ ABOUT DELINQUENCY
V GREAT CROP OF KIDS
Never before in our history have we Americans
experienced such a wave of fear and distrust of our
teen-age youth. Throughout the country adults frankly
admit that they are afraid of today’s teen-agers. Perhaps
you have felt it. The sight of a group of hulking 16-year
olds ambling down the street makes you wonder uneasily
whether you left the ignition keys in your car. When you
see your neighbor’s pretty daughter racketing around in
a hot rod with her boy friends, you have misgivings about
her morals. Many believe from what they have heard
that it is a rare teen-ager these days who is not giving both
parents and home community a rough time.
Everywhere adults are taking defensive measures
against the entire juvenile community. On a recent trip
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around the country, on assignment from This Week
Magazine, we learned of 21 states where there are towns
with a 10 p.m. curfew for everyone under 18.
In one Southern community last summer everyone
between the ages of 12 and 18 was summarily barred
from a Fourth of July fireworks display. The Chief
of Police explained. “Last year a bunch of kids played
some pranks and darn near blew up the whole crowd.
We can’t afford to take chances like that again!”
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By Jhan and June Robbins
Photograph by Maurice Miller
Everywhere there is an increasing reluctance to take
chances on our youth. Even our young people’s job
opportunities are being restricted:
A baby-sitting service in southern Connecticut no
longer employs teen-agers.
A large summer camp in Arizona which has successfully
employed teen-agers as junior counselors for 25 years is
this year advising that no teen-agers need apply!
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In many areas these days an entire teen-age population
is being labeled a menace before any of them even get a
chance to step out of line! To a surprising number of
adults today the words teen-ager and delinquent mean the
Try talking, as we did. to half a hundred apparently
well-informed grownups. A decided-majority of them
thought that the percentage of young people who tangled
with the law in some manner before leaving their teens
was upwards of 35 per cent! Some guessed as high as
75 per cent.
We cannot ignore our juvenile delinquents. We dare
not neglect them. We must continue to look for new ways
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