Sheriff speaks on school violence


Following the school shooting in Littleton, Colo., Sgt. Tim Younger, head of the Juvenile Intervention Unit (nicknamed the “J-Team”) of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station spoke with The Malibu Times.

DW: Does the J-Team have a policy for intervening with at-risk teens?

TY: The policy is, if there is a violation of the law, we’re going to enforce the law. If there is a violation of school policy, we’ll help them in dealing with that. The schools have the ability to do a lot of things the law can’t do because they deal with and can probably identify at-risk teens earlier than we do.

DW: What about juvenile problems in Malibu specifically?

TY: There are not many problems within the town now. But the key to success is the continuing involvement of the law, the schools and the parents with our teens. A combination of all is important, especially the parents. I can’t stress that enough, and we teach a parenting class once a month to explain how they can be on top of problems.

DW: Is there any way to pick out kids who might be dangerous both to themselves and to others?

TY: Kids give off a lot of warning signs before they become at risk. Lots of changes in behavior will raise a red flag. When the school sees these changes, I know they intervene; when parents see them, they should take action by calling the school or any professional help they have the ability to seek. As Mike Matthews said to you, it takes all of us working together to keep our schools safe.