Monday, November 24, 2014

12 year old Cleveland, OH youth shot by police. What is going on in society?

*Thoughts by B. Brown --- BREG

This is another tragic situation.

I stopped a black male youth (maybe 12 - 14 years old) in the West-End area of Atlanta, GA doing almost the exact same thing that this Cleveland, OH youth was doing a little over a month ago. I did not know him, but I stopped my car, got his attention & said, "young brother, please put away that toy gun & do not play with it outside your home. As a matter of fact, I would like for you to throw it away. I don't want you to be killed out here by someone mistaking your toy gun as a real gun."

He didn't say anything, but he apparently understood what I said because he did put it up (in his waistband however) & ran on down the street with his friend.

I saw the orange tip in this youth's toy gun, but it has been said that the Cleveland youth did not have the orange tip in/on it.

Our youth have a responsibility to follow directions from authority figures (parents, teachers, police, firefighters, etc.) When we as parents, guardians, adults do not teach our children how to conduct themselves properly & to respect authority, some of the decisions/mistakes they make could be fatal ... Parenting the Hip-Hop Youth ... We've seen this situation and scenario over & over again. When the officers say, "Show me your hands or put your hands up," we all are supposed to show are hands with no weapon in them as soon as possible. If there are mental/learning challenges involved, not too many police officers are going to be able to assess that in the heat of the moment.

We all must do our very best not to put ourselves in position to be killed.

Education & the ability to think is lacking for too many of our youth that actually believe being in a gang & being "hard in the streets" is what they are supposed to do and who they are supposed to be. This Cleveland youth should not have had the bb/pellet gun in the 1st place, the orange tip should not have been removed, he should not have been waving it at people & he should have put his hands up immediately instead of reaching into his waistband. That's a universal no-no.

Should the police officers have done a better job of assessing the situation? Probably so. Do I believe in using body cameras? Yes, I agree that we need body cameras on every single police officer in the world & continuous training on these types of situations and more!

When humans are involved. Anything can happen. Police Officers are human as well, & they want to go home at the end of the day just like me and you.

I am Praying for everyone involved. One Love!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Do You Dislike Successful African-Americans? Are you Black Enough?

*Thoughts by Barry Brown

In 2014, it is amazing that we have gotten to a point as African-American/Black people where we have a large segment of our population that actually believes that being smart, setting goals, working hard to achieve those goals and being successful is not what black people do.

This type of mind-set breeds self-hate which makes one person truly not like another person because that successful person chose to improve themselves and work towards a better life!

When someone chooses to not value learning, education, hard work, personal development and being smart; that decision usually leads to terrible results like homelessness, not eating everyday, wearing worn out clothes, etc.

Our young people must learn & truly understand that a basic education and graduation from high school is essential to their long-term earning potential success. They must also understand that learning a skill and trade that someone is willing to pay you for over and over again is very important!

My father and mother are being honored this upcoming weekend for their roles in the Civil Rights Student Movement of the 1960's when they attended Clark College (now Clark-Atlanta University). My brother and I would not be who we are today if it wasn't for our parents instilling certain values within us and having certain expectations of us. I am very grateful to my parents for loving me enough to teach me, discipline me and love me some more!!!

Parents, let's teach our children how to love themselves and want to be something positive in life, so that they will want to see other people be positive and successful in life!!!


(CNN) -- Charles Barkley hasn't met a sensitive topic he couldn't dig into, and now he's speaking on what he calls a "dirty, dark secret" in the African-American community.
During an interview with a Philadelphia radio station, Barkley expounded on claims that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wasn't liked by some of his teammates in part because he wasn't considered to be "black enough."
Barkley said he wasn't at all surprised.
"There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don't have success," Barkley said. "It's best to knock a successful black person down 'cause they're intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they're successful. It's crabs in a barrel. ... We're the only ethnic group that says, 'hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.' "
The concept of "crabs in a barrel" isn't new, and it's universal. If you've ever seen a bucket of crabs at the market, the ones at the bottom will try to pull down the crabs that are closer to the top.
"I lived this, and if it weren't for my parents I wouldn't have pushed through it," one Twitter user said in response to Barkley's comments.
Education advocate and CNN contributor Dr. Steve Perry is another observer who agrees with Barkley.
"Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we're never going to be successful not because of you white people but because of other black people," Barkley said. "When you're black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It's a dirty, dark secret; I'm glad it's coming out."Others have been irked by Barkley's delivery. When Perry tweeted that he applauded Barkley's remarks, some responded that they bristled at Barkley's tendency to generalize the experience of an entire group.
The controversy began with an item from Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, who said some of Wilson's Seahawks teammates don't care for him because "they think he's too close to the front office," he "doesn't always take the blame with teammates for mistakes he makes," and "some of the black players think Wilson isn't black enough."
"There is ... an element of race that needs to be discussed," Freeman said of Wilson's relationship with his teammates. "My feeling on this -- and it's backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players -- is that some of the black players think Wilson isn't black enough. This is an issue that extends outside of football, into African-American society, though it's gotten better recently. Well-spoken blacks are seen by some other blacks as not completely black. Some of this is at play." (Bleacher Report shares a parent company with CNN.)
The report has been denied by Seahawks player Richard Sherman, who said the accusations were "made up," and Wilson too has shaken off Freeman's point of view.
"Black enough? I don't even know what that means," Wilson said. "I'm just an educated, well-spoken male."
But to Barkley, Freeman's assertions are a very real part of being successful and black.
"For some reason we're brainwashed to think if you're not a thug or an idiot, you're not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent and don't break the law, you're not a good black person," he said. "It's a dirty dark secret. I hate to bring white people into our crap, but as a black person, we all go through it when you're successful."

Monday, July 14, 2014

THE STUDENT-ATHLETE PLAYBOOK (Success in the Classroom, Sports & Life!)

Written By:  Barry Brown

The Student-Athlete Playbook (Success in the Classroom, Sports & Life!) shares vital information about who is and what is a student-athlete. The book also discusses how to grow and conduct yourself as a student-athlete. 
Parents, student-athletes, teachers, coaches, athletic directors, principals and superintendents will all find value in the inspiration and motivation of this book. 
The Student-Athlete Playbook provides an outline of "life plays" that will absolutely help a student-athlete achieve their goals when they focus and put forth maximum effort to make it happen! 
The Student-Athlete Playbook is a game changer for student-athletes involved in sports across the board, and it encourages them to work towards achieving greatness in the classroom, in their respective sport and in everything that they do in life!

One Love!

*Order your copy by clicking on the link below:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Do you believe it is a good idea for schools to monitor students' Social Media accounts?

*Thoughts by Barry Brown - The "Make A Way" Education Program;

As we continue to advance in society and seemingly create wealth out of the thin air, there is something very valuable that is falling through the cracks. OUR CHILDREN!!!

We are seeing more and more instances of young people plotting and actually following through with murderous schemes at our schools across the country. We have to start implementing better strategies to find out information prior to these tragedies instead of just reacting. It's called being proactive!

We cannot continue to chase money as adults and parents, and ignore our children that need our love, attention, structure, discipline & guidance. We are obviously ignoring signs that may be right in our face because we are not eating dinner with our children, we are not going to the park and playing with our children, and we may not even talk with our children when we are driving them to school or another activity. At the end of the day, we do not know what are children are doing in their daily lives. We see them everyday and believe everything is ok. PARENTING YOUTH TODAY!!!

Parents, if we allow tv, movies, music and everyone/everything else to raise our children, what could we possibly think our children are going to grow up to be?

Let's be proactive in our parenting which leads to being proactive in our schools, and let's be the change we want to see! Checkout the article below ........................................................

One Love!

At some schools, 'Big Brother' is watching

By Kelly Wallace, CNN
updated 9:31 PM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014

Schools to monitor student social media

  • A California school district hired a tech firm to monitor students' social media posts
  • Schools are also using technology to track suicide signs, cyberbullying, drug use
  • Legal questions remain about schools' authority to screen kids off-campus and online
  • "Most school districts don't want to become NSAs," said a superintendent representative
Editor's note: In March 2014, a Minnesota student was awarded a $70,000 settlement after her school district forced her to turn over passwords for her Facebook and email accounts, according to theAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. As part of the settlement, the school district has agreed to change its policies to better protect students' rights. Last year, CNN Digital Correspondent Kelly Wallace examined how a growing number of schools are monitoring students' social media accounts and the legal and privacy implications of such moves.
(CNN) -- Just as parents are grappling with how to keep their kids safe on social media, schools are increasingly confronting a controversial question: Should they do more to monitor students' online interactions off-campus to protect them from dangers such as bullying, drug use, violence and suicide?
Last summer, the Glendale school district in suburban Los Angeles captured headlines with its decision to pay a tech firm $40,500 to monitor what middle and high school students post publicly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
The school district went with the firm Geo Listening after a pilot program with the company last spring helped a student who was talking on social media about "ending his life," company CEO Chris Frydrych told CNN's Michael Martinez in September.
"We were able to save a life," said Richard Sheehan, the Glendale superintendent, adding that two students in the school district had committed suicide the past two years.
"It's just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety," he said.
The Glendale school district is not alone. David Jones, president of the firm Safe Outlook Corporation, said two school districts and three schools pay, on average, between $4,000 to $9,000 per year for one of his technology products called CompuGuardian and that he expects the number of schools participating to go up. (Jones said he was not at liberty to reveal which schools work with his company.)

School hires firm to monitor kids online

Social media and schools

Low-tech school gains high praise

Preventing cyberbullying

Cracking down on bullying
His product gives schools access to, among other things, reporting tools that allow users to search key words connected to cyberbullying and drug use, and to see whether students are researching topics about dangers such as school violence.
"You can identify a student, and you can jump into their activity logs and see exactly what they've typed, exactly where they've gone, exactly what they've done, and it gives you some history that you can go back to that child and use some disciplinary action," Jones said. "You can bring in the parent and say, 'Hey, look, this is what your child's doing. You need to talk to them about it.' "
Florida suicide sparks questions for schools
The issue of just what kids may be doing to each other online gained even more attention after a 12-year-old Florida girl, Rebecca Sedwick, who was repeatedly cyberbullied, jumped to her death in September.
Two girls, ages 12 and 14, were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking, accused of sending Sedwick messages such as "Why aren't you dead?" and "Wait a minute, why are you still alive?" (Those charges were eventually dropped.)
Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, said the school was aware of on-campus bullying of Sedwick and dealt with it by separating the students and putting them in different classes, but it was not aware of the off-campus bullying -- online -- that was taking place.
Under a Florida law that went into effect in July (PDF), before Sedwick's death, if parents or students notify a school about suspected bullying off-campus, the school has the authority to look at a student's Facebook posts and e-mails, according to Blanton.
"The key to everything is, we have to be notified ... because there is no way we could monitor all the Facebook accounts and e-mail accounts and tweets and Twitters and all that," Blanton said. "We have 2.8 million students, but if it's reported, our teachers, our principals, our school resource officers are receiving extensive training and acting immediately on that."
"A gray area that could ... lead to a lot of litigation"
Blanton said school administrators are talking, especially after the Sedwick case, about what more they can do in terms of monitoring kids' social media but said that besides the logistics of keeping tabs on millions of students, there are big legal questions about a student's privacy rights.

Where are your kids talking? Where are your kids talking?
"I think that's the biggest issue you're wrestling with when you start intercepting someone's messages," Blanton said. "Should I intercept your messages based on certain words? You're really getting into a gray area that could potentially lead to a lot of litigation."
Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, the school superintendents association, said it's "not always clear" legally what can be done and what is within the scope of the district's authority.
"In one state, the court will support the district and say, 'absolutely, you have the right to do that.' In a very similar situation in another court, the court will rule 'absolutely not, it's freedom of speech,' " Domenech said. "So the whole legal issue right now is very much up in the air."
Cases in point: In September in Nevada, a federal appeals court backed school officials in the suspension of a high school student who allegedly threatened his classmates with violence on Myspace. But in Indiana in 2011, a court found that school officials had violated students' free speech rights when two girls were suspended from extracurricular activities for posting pictures of themselves with phallic-shaped lollipops.
"I think the best guideline we can give school districts is to always go back to the issue of the safety of the students uppermost," Domenech said. "If the safety of a student's involved and you are not necessarily sure whether the district has the authority to do it or not, well, you know what, go out on a limb at that point, because if you are talking about saving a student's life then you'd rather be safe than sorry."
Balancing safety with not "recording their every move"
John Palfrey Jr., head of the boarding school Phillips Academy in Massachusetts, said he and his colleagues try to strike a balance between ensuring students' safety and not having them feel "like we are recording their every move."
CNN\'s Kelly Wallace says many parents are unaware of some of the sites kids are now using to bully online.
CNN's Kelly Wallace says many parents are unaware of some of the sites kids are now using to bully online.
If a student follows him on Twitter, he will follow them back, but on Facebook, teachers don't accept friend requests from students or extend them, and they don't "go hunting around" to see what students are saying on the social networking platform.
"We see certain spaces that they're communicating with their friends as akin to what they might be saying ... behind closed doors in a dorm room and I think that's a place where we, as administrators, don't belong," said Palfrey.
Public largely critical of school monitoring
How much to monitor students' social media is not just an issue fraught with logistical and legal challenges. There is also the court of public opinion, which leans heavily to the "schools are overreaching" side of the equation, according to comments we received on CNN's Facebook page.
"Schools need to respect boundaries and the First Amendment," Tom Gayda, who is director of student publications for an Indianapolis high school, wrote in an e-mail.
"Kids needs to be free to say (something) without feeling like the school is watching them 24/7," Gayda later said in an interview. "My concern is if a kid goes home and writes 'the school lunch sucks,' and the next day they're brought in and in trouble for complaining about school food."
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But Lauren, a 20-year-old college student who only wanted to use her first name, believes that schools should be monitoring social media content posted by students because many times, she said, parents aren't aware of what their children are up to.
"I recently found my 13-year-old sister's Tumblr with the title 'Depressed but well dressed,' " Lauren said. "It immediately made me take action, let my parents know and make sure she got the help she needed.
"Had the situation been any different, the outcome might have been tragic," she said. "I support this measure and believe more schools should follow."
Social media monitoring: Wave of the future?
Domenech, who represents public school superintendents, said that at this stage, he thinks only a "very small number" of districts are actively monitoring students online, primarily because they don't have the staffing or the money to hire a firm to help.
Instead of more schools trying to follow the Glendale district's lead, Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association believes schools should mount a major public relations campaign targeting students and parents, letting them know it's OK to report anything of concern they see online.
He compares it to an ad campaign in Florida from about 15 years ago encouraging students to report any weapons they see on campus. Now, 90% of guns found on school premises in the stateare reported by students, he said.
"We have to get to the same point with when you see a student (or) another student sees a student being bullied, or a parent knows about a Facebook account, they have to let us know," Blanton said.
In the end, prevention is better than high-tech surveillance, said Domenech.
"I think most school districts don't want to become NSAs," he said. "We don't see that that is really our role."
Follow Kelly Wallace on Twitter, and like CNN Living on Facebook.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


*Commentary from Barry Brown (Business, Education & Entertainment Consultant)

--- Senior Program Coordinator/Trainer/Presenter with The "Make A Way" Education Program 

As I travel around the country keynoting, conducting breakout sessions and sharing "Make A Way" Education Program materials with education conference attendees, I usually hear the same stories no matter where the school is located in the United States.

In a recent visit to a high school, I was informed that two upper-class football players are facing tribunal for having sexual relations with a female sophomore on the school elevator.

I was also informed that a substitute teacher got into a physical altercation with a student that physically challenged them.

You see, these are just a couple of examples of what is going on in our schools across the country.

One of the ways to find out what your children are doing at school is to physically visit the school on a frequent basis. All of the top performing schools have one thing in common for sure, parent volunteers and participation.

With the tremendous advancement in technology, parents of a particular class (i.e. Class of 2014) may choose to start a Facebook Group to highlight successes and to discuss issues and brainstorm on solutions.

Expectations of our young people is very important! As parents and adults, we literally cannot afford to continue to coddle them because they will actually grow up and not be able to handle any type of adverse situation. We have socially promoted too many young men and women that end up being these very disruptive 17-18 year old 9th graders. We have to teach them to be accountable for their actions and push, pull and encourage them to move forward in their lives in a positive and productive manner!

Now parents, I understand that many of you are out here working your behinds off to take care of your family, but we have to take the time to invest in our children. It is a sacrifice, but it is more than worth it. If we do not show our children that education is important, then they will not take education seriously:

- Do you know if your child can read well or at all?
- Do you know your child can't verbally express themselves very well?
- Do you know your child is late to school everyday?
- Do you know your child is late to every class, every day?
- Do you know your child refuses to be a student at school?
- Do you know your child wears a headset and listens to music in class all day?
- Do you know your child is texting and using social media all day at school?
- Do you know your child talks on the phone during school all day?
- Do you know your child uses profanity in front of and at adults everyday?
- Do you know your child is in the stairwell or at their locker kissing?
- Do you know your child is walking around the school all day or leaving campus frequently?
- Do you know your child is in a gang?
- Do you know your child is selling drugs and stolen merchandise?
- Do you know your child is using drugs?
- Do you know your child has a gun?
- Do you know your daughter is pregnant?
- Do you know your son is about to become a teenage father?
- Do you know your child has a STD and/or HIV?
- Do you know your child is FAILING almost every class?

This is what is going on at too many schools across this country everyday! It's embarrassing and terribly sad!

I can go on and on, but I digress because we can save a lot of our children as long as we are willing to love, teach and discipline them.

Instead of buying our children designer shoes, clothes, and phones, let's invest that money into tutors and/or a professional learning center to at least get our children up to grade level, and preferably well above grade level!

We actually have an epidemic, and there's not enough people talking about the situation in our public schools across the country. If we continue socially passing our children, not holding them accountable and not disciplining them. What should we expect from them as a adults? It's actually very scary. I am really understanding that this rising generation may truly be the 1st generation that does not do better than the one before it. That's a dim view of the future for a lot people. What skills do they possess now? What kind of professional skills are they capable of learning and developing? Where are these young people going to work? What kind of businesses are they going to start?

If your child is one of the young people that is achieving and coming to school to be an actual student, then it is imperative that we create and maintain high level learning environments for the young people that want to learn and grow! We have to nourish our best minds and students putting forth effort just as much or more than the energy we put into the young people that literally run around the school all day and cause our better students to suffer.

I understand that a lot of parents are in denial, but once we face reality and decide to put the work in with our children to make sure we give them the best educational support and encouragement that we can; we will see the light shine in our children! It's us as parents and adults that make the difference, and we can do it!

Schools are being consolidated (*closed) and more prisons are being built. Parents, guess who they are building these jails for, our children ---

  • Data reported (Ed Week) for the 2010-11 academic year marks the first time all of the states used a uniform measure to calculate graduation rates, in accordance with a compact signed by the nation's governors in an effort to improve accuracy and accountability.
    Significant jumps in the percentages of black and Latino students graduating were an important factor in the improved nationwide graduation rate, according to Ed Week. The full report, and the spotlight stories focusing on efforts to get dropouts back in school, is well worth reading. I was particularly interested in the data on young adults ages 16-21. Here's what that group - 27 million -- looks like nationally:

    • More than 20 million are in school, either K-12 or higher ed;
    • 5.1 million graduated but are not enrolled in a post-secondary institution;
    • 1.8 million young adults (which, not surprisingly, includes a disproportionate percentage of minorities) have left school without a diploma. Of those 1.2 million of them -- 66 percent -- are not working.

Parents, get involved, stay in tune with your children and set expectations for your children. We all have to do it. Superintendents, Administrators, Teachers and Staff, we all have to want our students to learn and not just prepare for standardized tests. Let's truly educate our children so that they grow into skilled and productive adults. Our children have the capacity to learn, and will learn if we LOVE, TEACH & DISCIPLINE them.  


Friday, February 28, 2014

College Access and Success Summit!!!

On March 8th, from 8 AM to 3 PM in the Massey Leadership Center on the Morehouse campus, the Atlanta Metro Alumni Chapter will host an event aimed at helping students and parents pay for college. A few highlights of our 1st "College Access and Success Summit":

* Separate Parent and Student tracks that will equip attendees with the tools and resources needed to attain college funding.

* Sessions include Q&A periods with subject matter experts (college representatives, students, and more).

* BOTH Students and Parents encouraged to attend.

* Catered lunch included in registration fee.

***As an added incentive, ON-SITE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS will be given out to participants to jumpstart the college funding process ***

Registration is $25 for individuals, and $20 each for two (2) or more participants. Register at:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

JORDAN DAVIS (The Dunn Trial) - Is Your Child Next? Target Practice ...

Commentary & Thoughts By:  Barry Brown - The "Make A Way" Education Program

The Dunn Trial (Jordan Davis)

Is Your Child Next? Target Practice ...

Let me start with saying that this Dunn character & Zimmerman are dead wrong for murdering Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin. Dunn & Zimmerman should 30 feet under the jail. That's my opinion, the horrific thing is that there are a lot of people that agree with Dunn and Zimmerman's action and believe they did act in self-defense. Ok, that's their opinion.

I want to address the idea that both of these young men could possibly still be alive if they were able to control their emotions and respect themselves enough to keep it moving instead of confronting, talking back and basically "bucking" at adults that were ready and willing to take their lives.

You see, I share with my daughters and any young people I get to speak with, that if they cannot control themselves, you give someone else the right to control you. There lies one of the biggest issues that our young people face on a daily basis, controlling their emotions.

Let me form an image in your mind as a parent & adult. You are not emphasizing education in your home. You do not discipline your child consistently and you actively attempt to be friends with your child instead of a parent. You reward your child with $100.00+ tennis shoes, but they are failing several classes if not all of them. Has a picture formed in your mind?

These are the same young people that believe it's ok to use profanity in front of adults or anybody for that matter. They believe it's ok to wait until the late bell rings and then go to class. And if anyone, including an adult, says something to them, that's a huge problem for the young person; because in their mind no one should restrict their actions or speech in any form or fashion. The problem with this way of thinking is that these young people are usually setting themselves up for jail or death.

With society moving closer and closer to an "everything goes" wild wild west throwback mentality, our young men and ladies of color are being set-up to be target practice. If we do not counter-act the societal woes that are being established along with the laws that are already on the books with better quality parenting with an emphasis of helping our children find their purposes in life as soon as possible; we are going to continue to get the short-end of the stick with our children being buried at early ages and hauled off to jail where they become 2014 slaves. The 13th Amendment did not totally abolish slavery. Read it for yourself. You may be surprised!

I will finish this blog with a story from one of my recent visits and work in a high school. The class was reading the updated version of Romeo & Juliet. It's called ... wait for it ... Romiette & Julio ... lol ... So first of all, I had to almost beg students to read out loud. They wanted to listen to the audio book. The interesting and sad part about getting the students to read out loud is that the smart students do not want to let the other students know that they are smart. It's amazing, I believe the opposite. I believe that the students that need to improve should be working diligently on improving attempting to learn from the smart students, but now a culture has started where the not so bright students pick on the students that are smart and putting forth effort. Call me crazy ... So during one of our discussions, the term "lame" came up, and the students told me that a lame person is someone that isn't popular. I asked them do they know what lame actually means? I had a student look the word up on their phone of course ... Lol ... and when they found out what it means not being able to move or use a part of your body; they just had blank stares on their faces. I shared with them the fact that they were wrong for picking on students that are putting forth an effort to learn and to improve because the actual lames in this scenario is them, because they are not using the most important part of their bodies, their brains!

It was a good learning experience for me and the students.

Parents, let's step our game up and choose to invest in our children so that we may stop this school to death and school to jail pipeline.

One Love!

Hip-Hop Youth, Education and Parenting!