Youth Crime Watch “Stop the Violence” Blue Ribbon Week- By Alina Lopez

All students have the right to learn in a safe, violent free environment. In fact, a positive, friendly school atmosphere promotes learning and produces better students.

Unfortunately, school violence incidents occur more often than we wish.

Prevention efforts by teachers, administrators, law enforcement, parents, and students themselves, have proven to reduce violence and improve school environment.

Twenty-two years ago, on April 20, 1999, many of us saw on television a horrendous scene unfold before the cameras. TV stations were reporting of a mass school shooting at Columbine Senior High School, in Littleton, Colorado, an otherwise small, quiet community. 15 people in total (including the perpetrators) died that day. This was by far not the first, nor the last, school shooting to take place in the U.S. but the Columbine incident was so significant in changing the way we view school shootings and active shooters.

Back in 2000, Youth Crime Watch of Miami Dade created their Blue Ribbon “Stop the Violence” campaign to promote violence free schools and commemorate the victims of such heinous crimes. This year, the YCW Blue Ribbon week will be held the week of April 19-23, 2021 and is open to all grade levels. Blue, aside from being the official color of Youth Crime Watch of Miami Dade, signifies student solidarity to live a violence free lifestyle and students educating their peers on youth crime prevention.

Local schools are asked to participate in this awareness effort by:

  • Decorating their schools with blue ribbons.
  • Creating YCW “Stop the Violence” posters and placing them strategically around their campus, as well as posting them on social media platforms using the hashtag #ycwmiamidade.
  • Announcing a YCW “Stop the Violence” safety tip of the day at the morning announcements.
  • Hosting “Stop the Violence” presentations in their schools. Due to COVID restrictions, this may not be the most feasible option for some schools but check with administration about it.

What else can you do, as an adult to help prevent school violence? It’s a team effort and all players need to be on board to curtail future occurrences.

  • Teachers should involve themselves beyond the classroom. Monitor the halls in between classes and be alert of students’ behaviors in and out of the rooms.
  • Do not allow inappropriate talk or conduct.
  • Discuss conflict resolution and anger management skills with students.
  • Report any suspicious or concerning behavior to proper authorities and teach students about reporting incidents assuring them it’s not tattling when it comes to school safety.
  • Engage in school wide initiatives like the YCW “Stop the Violence” campaign.
  • As parents, remember to lead by example. Be non-violent and patient with your children. Learn to manage your own anger. Set limits such as no name-calling or hitting.

If a local Miami Dade County school is interested in participating in this Youth Crime Watch “Stop the Violence” Blue Ribbon week event, please contact Joel Mesa, Education Director, at 305-470-1676 or via email at

As McGruff would say, you can help all of us “Take a bite out of crime!”

Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and stay safe.

Written By: Alina Lopez

Citizen’s Crime Watch of Miami-Dade

Citizens’ Crime Watch is a nonprofit county-wide crime prevention program funded by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, grants and donations.