The boy stroked his chin and gazed at the floor as his mother spoke. He challenges our decisions and talks back to his teachers, she told a police officer. He’s a good kid at heart, she said, but he won’t take orders from anyone.
It was the middle of the day, and this 13-year-old should have been at school. A fist fight, however, landed him on suspension and placed him in the sights of Charles Green.
The North Charleston police officer looked the boy up and down. What’s going on with you, Green asked. The boy just shook his head. “I don’t know,” the teen softly said. “I’m working on it.”
Green’s eyes narrowed. Who pays for your clothes, this roof over your head, that Xbox in your room, he asked. What kind of example are you setting for your younger sisters? You say you want to be an engineer? Good for you. The world is at your doorstep, son, but you have work for it, Green told the boy.
“You probably thought we were going to come here with handcuffs to arrest you and take you to jail, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to get you back and focused,” Green said, wagging a finger at the boy.
“I don’t know you that well yet, but I believe in you. You’ve got to believe in yourself too — your goals and your dreams. It’s all out there.” – Charles Green, North Charleston Police Master Patrolman.
In the not too distant past, police likely would have arrested the boy for assault and funneled him into the Family Court system to receive his punishment. That’s all changing now with an ambitious new program in North Charleston aimed at curbing violence by attacking its youthful roots. <<read more>>