Gang Activities in School and Crisis Management
Are you a teacher and you have noticed suspicious behavior within your school? Is this behavior in the form of group activities taking place that are questionable? If so, there may be gang activity occurring within your school. There are three levels of gang activity that you should be aware of. Those levels include hard core, “wannabes” that emulate gang activity, and business people who provide gang-related services to students engaging in gang activity or who may potentially engage in gang activity. The first two may exist on school grounds, while the others sneak their way into the path of gang members or potential gang members.
Identifying Gang Members
There are also observable indicators that can tell you if there are gang members within your school. Those indicators are:
- The wannabes tend to wear hats, scarves, and jackets that resemble one another. They may also all have the same haircut. Hard core gang members tend to refrain from this behavior, making them more difficult to spot.
- They may all wear the same colors.
- Their shoelaces may all be the same. Sometimes gang members are more subtle in their uniformity, so it is important to look at every detail.
- They may wear a uniform pendant on their jackets.
- There may be graffiti on their notebooks and on other items that belong to them. Symbols to look for include the Star of David, pitchfork, six points, and six dots.
There are a number of strategies that can be used with some being simpler than others. For instance, you can assist in controlling the entrances of the schools. A sign can be posted that says that all who enter the school are subject to a search.
Another thing is that students should be shown respect by the school administration whether they belong to gangs or not. Those who are in gangs want respect and having respect means they won’t resort to violence. It is also important to utilize the drug, alcohol, and sex programs within the school to teach respect and emphasize self-esteem.
There may also be gang intervention programs in your community and groups at the school focused on ending violence. Look into becoming a part of these programs and groups in order to learn as much as you can and actively intervene when gang activity is known or suspected.
One way to truly intervene in the case that there is gang violence on school property is to have a school crisis team put in place. This team is able to evaluate any and all situations regarding violence in school. When it comes to gang violence, doing such things as removing graffiti from around the school, confiscating questionable items and clothing, and simply having the occasional assembly regarding violence that educates students can make a considerable difference.