How Gangs Affect Education Andrea Hobert, Victoria Vizzini, and Jeff Kerte
1 A gang is defined as a group of people who claim territory and use it to make money through illegal activities, such as, drugs and weapons trafficking, prostitution rings, robbery, and other criminal activities. Gangs are usually organized based upon race, ethnicity, territory, or money-making activities and generally members are between the ages of 8 and 22. Members wear specific articles of clothing or certain colors to represent to others which gang they belong to. Gangs are one of the leading factors for the rise in violent crimes both on and off school property. More 772,500 people are members of the 24,500 active gangs in the United States alone. 94 percent of gang members are males with gang ethnicity breaking down as follows: 47 percent Hispanic, 31 percent African American, 13 percent Caucasian, and 7 percent Asian. Sadly, 37 percent of gang members are under the age of eighteen. Since such a big majority of gang members are youths, there is an ever increasing problem with the presence of gangs in schools. 45 percent of high school students and 35 percent of middle school students say that there are gangs or students who consider themselves to be part of a gang in their schools. However there is a blatant difference between the numbers of gangs in public and private schools. 46 percent of students in public schools reported the presence of gangs or gang members at school, while only 2 percent of private school students did. Another difference in gang numbers is seen in the location of the schools. Schools in urban areas appear to be the most affected by gangs with 36 percent of students reporting the presence of gangs, versus 21 percent of suburban and 16 percent of rural students. Gang activity has been increasing over the past 25 years and schools are clearly not immune. Gangs can affect any school, regardless of size, location, or ethnicity of students. By learning and understanding the characteristics of gangs, how and who they look to recruit, the local Brevard gangs, and the impact they have on
2 education, we can learn how to combat them in schools, so that we can help to keep our students safe. Gangs have been around as long as crime itself. In the 19 th century, the urbanization resulting from the Industrial Revolution helped to give rise to the modern street gang. New York City was ground zero for gang activity. Many sections were poor, with citizens holding strong ethnic ties. They found strength in numbers and began to form gangs based on their ethnic identities. These gangs fought each other over territory, robbed and mugged people and sometimes even united to fight against gangs from other areas of the city. Gang activity increased in the 20 th century. By the 1950’s and 60’s, gangs with European Ethnicity were all but gone, and gang membership was now almost exclusively made up of African Americans or Hispanics. In the 1970’s and 80’s, firearms and narcotics became much more widespread, and easier to buy illegally, on the streets.
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- Summer '14
- Gang, National Gang Center Bulletin