Anytime something dramatic happens in the District, the D.C. Council tends to respond dramatically. But in response to the South Capitol Street shooting that left four teenagers dead one year ago, Council member David Catania (I-At Large) opted to take his time to craft a legislative response.
The final product, known as the South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011, was unveiled yesterday at a ceremony commemorating the single deadliest killing in the District over the last two decades. Joined by colleagues Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Sekou Biddle (D-At Large) and D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown, Catania outlined the six-part legislation that seeks to revamp the city’s behavioral health system so that at-risk youth can be more easily identified and treated.
“The mental health needs of the District’s youth have been chronically underserved,” explains a Web site set up by Catania to break down the details of the legislation. “The legacy of underinvestment in youth mental health in the District is the cornerstone of the failed system that makes tragedies like South Capitol Street possible. The legislation requires schools to study and implement measures that ensure that children who should be in school are in school. The connection between a future life of crime and unmet behavioral health needs as a child is well documented.”
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]