Almost half of the teenagers arrested in Nashville since 2018 were re-arrested. 

According to Metro Police:

  • 222 teenagers ages 12-17 were arrested since the start of the Juvenile Crime Task Force in February of 2018
  • 45% of them were re-arrested 
  • 7 were arrested 4 additional times
  • 1 was arrested 10 additional times

Sonji Newman teaches at La Vergne High School. She calls teen violence a crisis. 

"Kids, they don’t think they have to follow rules and they want everything instantly," said Newman. "Obviously something we are doing isn’t working because they have become repeat offenders." 

On Saturdays, she hosts "Shift Teen Radio" on 101.9 FM and 100.5 FM. It's a weekly, live show that broadcasts from WGNS Radio in Murfreesboro. 

"I started really after a student of mine was murdered back in the spring and I said what can I do to give back. How can I reach the kids," said Newman. "We need to talk to the teens. I need to get their perspective. What are we doing wrong as adults."

Since November, Newman says she's interviewed at least 50 guests. Most of her guests are students from across Rutherford County. She also invites parent onto her show to talk about some of the issues affecting teens. 

"For a child to commit crimes like this they lack respect of other people and it’s because they are hurt," said Newman. "I’ve talked to parents who have tried everything and it got to the point where they just let them go and unfortunately it ends up in a bad situation."

Newman says when it comes to crime, we can't just blame the teenagers. 

"We need community service programs. We need the churches to step up. We need politicians to step up," said Newman.

She says more importantly, parents need to talk with their children and ask what's wrong. 

You can watch Newman's radio show every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until noon on Facebook live by clicking here.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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