DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County Police major wanted to get the word out to parents struggling to keep their children safe and out of harm's way after a rash of recent shooting deaths involving metro Atlanta teenagers. South Precinct Major KD Johnson said parents need to go back to basic parenting.
"We've got to have some serious conversations with our kids stop trying to be their friends. We need to know what they're doing, who they're doing it with especially at all times of night," the South DeKalb Precinct Major told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.
The major said a lot of young people unexpectedly end up in dangerous situations or in conflicts that turn deadly because parents aren't keeping track of their kids' friends. He also said parents miss or simply ignore some of the obvious signs their children are possibly involved in illegal activity.
"If your child has the latest and greatest fashions and they have a large sum of money and you know he or she is not gainfully employed, that is a red flag, Johnson said. "Parents keep letting this happen and they don't say anything. We've got to get back to parenting and stop allowing this to happen, so the father of two.
Coach Brandy outlaw told Bruner it's important for parents to find structured activities for their adolescents and teens, or at least find mentors who can be positive role models when the kids are not supervised.
"It takes a village to raise these kids, so we have to partner with each parent, each teacher, each coach, each neighbor to make sure that each one of our kids grow up and I healthy and safe environment," said Outlaw, who trains young people at Atlanta Sports Complex on Gresham Road in southeast Atlanta.
"We've got to make sure these kids understand that this isn't just about being physically fit. It's about being emotionally fit and spiritually fit. That's how we keep these kids out of trouble and on the right track," said the co-founder of TKO-Top-Knotch Opportunities, a sports training program in DeKalb County.