Editor, Ceres Courier,
Loved your article on problem children ("Kids going haywire without corporal punishment today" published March 23) and I wholeheartedly agree.
I see it every day on what I call Taylor island. It's a small county island in the middle of Turlock. It's a neighborhood most people wouldn't want to live in, but I have lived here over 15 years. Love my house, hate the neighborhood. We have them all here - Norteno gang members, marijuana growers, thieves, drug dealers, every kind of shady character you can imagine. It's a place where time seems to stand still. Nothing changes except the faces. No one cares about anything beyond their daily needs, no one works, no one contributes to society, no one cares when they hear gunshots, there is barely a response when someone screams for help. This is the place where children like little Andreas Raya and Michael Brown are created. Their bad behavior is rewarded and encouraged. Parents laugh when they are told their child stole something from a store and cussed out the clerk. They encourage their children to act that way.
Here's something I would like for you to know, though. I raised four children here. One is my own, and I raised three who belonged to meth using parents. I did this as a single mom. Not one of them is a gang member, drug dealer, marijuana smoker, has been in jail, or are disrespectful to others or authority. All of them graduated from high school. Two went onto college. When my kids broke the rules there were consequences and I'm proud to say that despite where I lived, these four children will not be a burden on society. My son is a mechanic in Modesto. Another is a sergeant in the Army, and the other two are special needs adults with learning disabilities but have never been in trouble with the law, are respectful and are doing their best to be responsible, independent adults.
In my experience having raised four children in a neighborhood like mine, (one I could afford to live in), there is absolutely no excuse why parents can't raise their children to be respectful, responsible, taxpaying, law-abiding citizens. Poverty is not an excuse for bad behavior.
Thank you for reminding the people that need reminding, to discipline their children so they don't grow up to be a burden on society, or God forbid, end up in pine box.