SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS – VOL. 8 – pg 3
Street Gangs in Schools
LOVE. Everyone needs to know that someone cares about them. Programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouts and many others can convey this idea. Schools can enter into partnerships with or sponsor these. Schools should be aware of and responsive to needs of students that may go beyond the classroom. Schools can form Student-led Student-formed Groups. ex: SAFE Chapters or Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign. Most communities have agencies to which students can be referred when needs show up. Providing needs conveys the concept of caring.
BELONGING. With rare exception, humans need to belong to a society. Schools and communities can foster a sense of belonging by involving students in collective activities. Planting trees or flower gardens, painting a senior citizen’s house, picking up litter, attending frequent pep rallies and promoting school colors and symbols are examples of belonging exercises. Competition between groups is an excellent way to provide a sense of belonging.
DISCIPLINE. Strange as it may seem at first, we all want discipline in our lives. It provides a frame work which brings a sense of security. When we know that something is expected of us and that there are consequences for not following rules, we feel more secure in moving through life. Think our roads. There are lines and signs that provide a structured way of getting from place to another. Imagine the feeling of insecurity if there were no lines for lanes and no signs for stops or directions. Schools and other agencies should provide students with discipline in education, recreation and all other endeavors.
One question remains, “Can we eliminate gangs?” The answer is simple, “No.”
- Redirect them,
- meet their needs,
- help them get out, if that is their desire?
As with other issues, the focus should be on the behavior. Focus on the desired goal. It then becomes clear that it matters not if a student is a member of a gang. What matters is whether the student’s behavior interferes with his ability, or the ability of another, to receive an education. It is much easier to divert actions rather than to stop them. Programs which accept students for whatever they may be and helps them find a more positive direction for their energies are far more likely to succeed.
Keys To Safer Schools.com