Assault incident requires immediate intercession to help our youth

In case you have not heard of the latest incident, let me share the headline: “Violent assault in KB Saturday night leaves resident hospitalized”. The incident narrated by the wife of the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, is unsettling.

A summary: Last Saturday at around 11 PM, three teenagers were throwing rocks at passing cars on Crandon Boulevard. Unbelievable, right? When confronted by the driver of a passing golf cart, one of the teens hit him in the head with a skateboard, rendering the man unconscious. This is serious. What was this teen thinking?

The wife reported in an email to the Islander News that her husband lost consciousness and fell on the ground bleeding. It is inconceivable to think that a family, husband, wife and 14-year-old daughter, would be subject to such violent behavior. Yet here we are. Another Saturday night in Key Biscayne.

For a while now, it seems things have been spiraling out of control. Earlier in the year a group of teenagers burnt some Tiki huts at the Beach Club. A few weeks ago, another group of teenagers went on a joy-ride crashing stolen golf carts in the Village Green. This latest incident definitely crossed the line. We have never seen this level of violence.

My message to the kids involved is to please come forward, admit your guilt. It is immoral to keep silent. Be courageous. I know it is difficult. I know you are scared. But you need to assume responsibility for your actions. That is the right thing to do.

This is not about pressing charges against the teens; it is about teaching them right from wrong. Their behavior is clearly wrong. But if we let this go, as we have in the past, these kids will move on without remorse and eventually go unhinged.

These incidents are symptoms that something is not well in our village. We need to come together as a community to help these youngsters, to identify the root cause of this rotten behavior. As a neighbor, I feel compelled to write this open letter to my community.

I believe in accountability, not revenge. The teenagers need to come forward, acknowledge their guilt and begin a healing process. Hopefully, they can turn this violent and senseless act into a learning opportunity and move forward with productive lives.

Wake up Key Biscayne, the time is now to take action. I know that community service would be a great place to start. I will commit to lend a hand to any adolescent interested in finding community service opportunities. Because I believe volunteering can create real change in the lives of our youth.

Juan Santaella

Santaella is a Key Biscayne resident and father of two. If you are interested in helping find or provide community service opportunities, write to jsantael@aol.com



In this age of social media, I am sharing this note with as many people as I can. I am also sharing it with school principals from our local high schools, and with Todd Hofferberth, Director of Parks and Recreation; because we all have a role to play in finding productive pathways for our youth.

Juan Santaella

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