Youth, anger, lack of life experiences, and aimlessness can force a young person to do the unthinkable. When news of the murder of a 17-year old at the Miami Job Corps was reported, I asked myself how could four Job Corps students take the life of one of their own. First, Job Corps offers young adults (16 – 24) a free education (High School Diploma and certification in a career such as nursing), free housing, free meals, free dental work, free health insurance, free career placement, free counseling, and other free resources. Often times, the access to stable housing is what attracts a number of applicants to the nation wide government program. These students live in transitional housing with a relative, a spouse, or a friend and are in need of permanent housing. Also, Job Corps is attractive to young people who are homeless.
The four students involved in the murder, Christian Colon, Desiray Strickland, Kaheem Arbelo and Jonathan Lucas were known as violent bullies on campus. However, it is not Miami Job Corps fault for allowing these students to stay on campus. The goal of the school is to transform the lives of young people. If school officials and the residential staff saw potential in the students, I am sure if previous incidents occurred they argued on behalf of the students. No one working at the school wants to throw a student out on the streets to potentially fall prey to human trafficking, prostitution, selling drugs, or gang activity or being a victim of violence. All of those realities are possible for a young person living on the streets in Miami.
Hopefully, the school doesn’t lose funding from the Department of Labor and the public realizes that this was an act of violence committed by people with anger issues created by the systems that the school was trying to protect them from. This death is no different from the number of deaths that occur across the country at various schools and jobs. However, this fact does not minimize the loss that has wounded the students at Miami Job Corps.