Last night, the little brother of my daughter’s friend was attacked at a Bayside railway station by a group of older boys. He ended up at the Alfred Hospital. My daughter tells me he’s a good kid. Stays out of trouble by all accounts. His crime? Wearing covetable shoes.
Two months ago, my nephew, who was staying with me at the time, asked me tearfully to help him get his bicycle from Hampton Station before it was dark, as the ‘Lads’ would take it and possible hurt him if he went after dark. At 5.30pm, I’m loading up my car with a bike, looking fearfully around for the ‘Lads’ who might ‘roll’ me at any moment.
Earlier this year, boys from each of my children’s schools were killed in train accidents. Allegedly they were both skylarking to some degree. I don’t know the details other than two families are now ruined forever.
Two weeks ago, my son was harangued about his polo-top by some ‘lads’ who travelled up and down the train line, getting off and causing drama at each station. They complimented him on his top, then proceeded to threaten to take it off him until he ran away. He’s 13. A tall kid but still, he’s only 13 and is often unsure of people’s intentions.
Earlier this year a young male friend of my daughters was ‘rolled’ on a tram on Chapel Street for his sneakers and phone. It was 6.30pm on a weeknight.
My daughter gets the train most days. She trains home at night, although I do stipulate no public transport after 9.30pm. She has never has a moment of worry or drama.
She stated to me last night that teenage girls are safer on train than boys, and under no circumstances am I to let her little brother take the train other than to and from school.
Our nearest station was a notorious hangout for ‘scumbag’ kids avoiding school, smoking ice, and intimidating train travellers. There are police there most times when I drive past the station, always sorting something out, although my daughter tells me it’s somewhat less ‘scummy’ now.
A mother of a teenage boy recently told a friend of mine, that she felt safer letting her son travel to China for a term of school, rather than take the train at night.
I understand her fear.
The bullying and climate of fear on trains and train stations for boys at the moment is out of control.
I cannot trust that they won’t be hassled for their shoes, phones, clothes or money by older kids obsessed with Northface, Tommy Hilfiger, and sneaker porn.
I cannot trust that they won’t hang their heads out of a window to try to take the ultimate ‘Insta’ photo.
I cannot trust they won’t get naked and surf a train, while their friends film it for Youtube from the opposite platform. I cannot trust that they won’t accidentally electrocute themselves next to a cafe, in full view of the diners in the courtyard, the smell of burning flesh causing diners to flee the establishment.
I cannot trust they won’t ‘tag’ or be attacked by other ‘loopers’, trying to get their ‘graff’ exposed.
It’s a combination of disrespect for others, entitlement that some think they deserve what ever someone else has got, and a need to be most ‘hectic’ in your actions.
It’s also the fact that the prefrontal cortex hasn’t yet matured. This is the CEO of your brain, making the decisions and looking longterm at the outcomes from that decision. It doesn’t finish maturing until a person is around 25 years old. 25!
I don’t have any answers, I just know I will be driving my son for a long time to come, at least till he’s 25. 😉