Gangs in schools can have a huge impact on students and
their education. If gangs in schools are a large problem
many kids may be afraid to attend school. Gangs can put a
lot of fear into kids, causing lack of concentration in
school because children hear all the bad events that gangs
do, like killing and hurting people. In school, gang
members intimidate other kids just because they are in a
gang. This all came to me when I was reading "Youth gangs
aren't just a big-city problem anymore." (Moriarty 13-16).
While I was reading this article I began to think of my
first two years in high school. I was at CDO High School in
Oro Valley. Oro Valley is a small suburb outside of Tucson.
At CDO there was a lot of problems with gangs. Little was
done to stop these gangs from harassing and taunting other
students. At CDO there were many times that the teacher
would not stand up to the gangs, it was other students that
did. One time my friend Adam saw a gangster picking on some
little freshman. Well after looking around Adam noticed
that no teachers were around to help the little guy out.
Adam took it upon himself to help the freshman, so he went
over and told the gang banger to stop. The gang member
said,"No, why don't you make me." Adam, who happened to be
about 6'3", 240 pounds, picked the gangster up and slammed
him into the hall door breaking the glass with his head.
The gangster calmly walked off threatening Adam. Adam ended
up having to pay for the window, even though he wasn't the
one causing the problem. What schools need to do is control
the gang problem. I don't know all the answers to solving
the gang problem, but I do have some ideas. At CDO, any
item worn that was gang related had to be confiscated.
Examples of these items are red or blue handkerchiefs,
T-shirts or hats that had names of gangs or gangs members
on them. This idea worked pretty well, except you would get
those kids who would try to wear gang items anyway. The
violators would then complain that school had no right to
take stuff that was theirs.
At Cross Jr. High, my old middle school in Tucson, you
can't even wear a baseball cap to school because they are
so largely related to gangs. This is a good idea if gangs
are a real big problem like at Cross. This idea can also
cause problems because many kids, like me, wear hats and
are not in gangs. In the article I read it gives a ten step
plan for schools to follow if they want to be gang free.
Step 1: Be honest, admit to potential problems in your
school. Step 2: Get smart, school executives need to become
aware of the myriad of gang symbols and paraphernalia. Step
3: Identify your schools leaders, and get them on your
side. Step 4: Don't close your doors at 3:15. To address
the needs of marginal students who might be vulernable to
gangs, devise ways to keep kids in schools after hours.
Step 5: Work with the police, it has several advantages.
The police department has the latest up dates on gangs
signs and symbols. Step 6: Involve transfer students, give
new students activities and opportunities that will help
them feel like they belong. Step 7: Educate your teaching
staff, include latest gang activity in community. Step 8:
Get parents on your side, parents support is critical to
eliminating gang influence in schools. Step 9: Find role
models, for example educators and law enforcement
personnel. Step 10: Provide career counseling for marginal
students. All students need to find school meaningful
especially those vulnerable to gangs (Moriarty 15).
A problem with controlling the gangs is that many of the
teachers and other faculty are scared of them, and they
have reason to be. One time our football team was going to
be playing Amphi at their field. The game almost got
canceled because the Amphi coach stood up for one of his
players against a local gang member. The gang member
threatened the coach's life. Well the game was played
anyway but the Amphi coach had to wear a bullet proof vest
at the game, and bullet proof fiberglass was put up around
the stadium.
 I feel that people need to start standing up for
themselves. Gangs are like bullies, when people start to
stand up to them, then they will begin to realize that they
can't control people so easily. I happen to know that this
works because a friend of mine proved it to me. Dave was a
big guy, about 6'2" 180 pounds, and was a senior. The next
year he was going into the Marines. Well I don't know how
the whole conflict with gang started but three gang members
approached one day. After about 10 minutes of arguing one
of the gang members pulled a knife and proceeded to
threaten Dave. Well as soon as Dave saw the knife he didn't
even give the gangster a chance to use it. With one swift
punch to the nose the gang member with the knife was
unconscious. Within 60 seconds the other two were also. The
gang never bothered Dave again. All it is going to take is
a little guts from people. "If we try and do anything they
will kill us," people say. Well their killing us anyway so
why don't we do something about it. What do we have to
lose? It is up to us or the people who are paid (like the
police) to do this start coming up with better ideas to
stop it. Another that needs to be done is follow the 10
steps I listed above

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