After the movie is finished ask the Quick Discussion Question and talk about what you believe the answer to be. Allow your child to express his or her thoughts on the question. Then discuss any other points in the film that might interest your child.
Since at least the beginning of the 20th century there has been a debate in American society concerning how to deal with juvenile delinquents. The alternatives have been, on the one hand, to punish, restrict, and incarcerate them or, on the other hand, to help them learn a trade or skill and to encourage their feelings of self-worth. Different people and groups favor different mixtures of each alternative. Father Flanagan and others who shared his compassion for wayward boys moved the national consensus toward help, training, and encouragement and away from punishment and incarceration.
Father Flanagan said that “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”
Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home, as it was originally called, was founded in 1917 and moved to Overlook Farm in 1921. The residents voted to change the name to Boys Town in 1926. Boys Town has continued to expand and change its concept to adapt to the times. It has accepted girls since 1979. Boys Town serves children who have personal or family problems, or who have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
In 1974 Boys Town changed from providing institutional care to providing “family care.” Boys Town is now organized into homes with no more than six youths in each residence. Highly trained married couples serve as surrogate parents. They provide guidance and instruction on a 24-hour basis ensuring that the physical, emotional, and treatment needs of their charges are met.
Boys Town has established satellite campuses in communities across the U.S. There are also other organizations in the U.S. and in other countries called Boys Town which are not affiliated with Boys Town USA but which offer similar programs.