How Do You Know If Your Child Isn't in a Gang?
Gangs are continuing to have a demoralizing impact on our schools and neighborhoods. With a growing number of children joining gangs, how do you know if your child isn't in a gang?.
We’re all familiar with the damage that gangs can do to individuals, families and communities. It has been reported that Gwinnett County Police arrested 49 members of a gang called “Gangster Disciples” and five of them were juveniles. The consensus is that there are about 31,000 gangs in the United States alone with over 850,000 members. Due to the outrage of gang committed crimes, The Gwinnett County Police Department has announced "a major gang sweep." They are cracking down on gangs and their crimes, which range from extreme violence, murder, drugs, burglary and robbery and carrying illegal guns.
This brings to mind the times when I have come across signs that a student might be in a gang. As a teacher it can be very difficult to notice all the indicators because the signs change and become very complex to identify. To build a more solid barrier against gangs, we parents and teachers can together help aid in Gwinnett County’s Major Gang Sweep.
Here is a list of 10 things we can do to help keep gangs out of our schools, away from our children and neighborhoods:
1. Immediately report to the police any gang associations, gang graffiti or tagging (advertising of gangs usually on property in neighborhoods to claim territory or show disrespect to a rivalry gang).
2. Explain to your child that he/she should not even associate with gang members at school or home. Tell your child to immediately speak with you or a school counselor if he/she is feeling influenced by a gang.
3. Watch for obsession of different signatures: tattoos or burn marks, sagging, the consist wear of certain clothing, jewelry, colored hair or bandanas and ban these items and ideas from your child
4. Notice major attitude problems or decline in grades with your child. If you need help with parenting, local schools, libraries, churches and recreational centers offer free class and support.
5. Promote interests with your child in school, community or church activities. Most of these activities are free. Schools, the YMCA and the Salvation Army, and detention centers offer support for families and children in need.
6. Be aware of the use of drugs, alcohol and defiance.
7. Detect promiscuous behaviors and habitual lying.
8. Pay attention to your child’s friends. For example: Susan used to always hang with Mary and Kim, now Susan hangs with Kristy and Tammy for no apparent reason. Take your child around positive affluence.
9. Observe certain items that your child obtains. If you didn’t buy it, where did it come from? Watch for the carrying of weapons, such as a gun, knife, screwdriver, bat or club.
10. Last but certainly not least, spend time with your child and speak of the dangers/ consequences of being involved with gangs or any negative activity. If you listen to your child, he/she will listen to you.