2110437355 - Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S Department of Justice National Gang Center Bulletin No No 5 1 November February 2010 2007 Responding to

2110437355 - Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S Department of...

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1 Responding to Gangs in the School Setting By: Michelle Arciaga, Wayne Sakamoto, and Errika Fearbry Jones Introduction Gangs are present in many schools in the United States. The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XV: Teens and Parents , released in August 2010 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, reported that: Forty-five percent of high school students say that there are gangs or students who consider themselves to be part of a gang in their schools. Thirty-five percent of middle-school students say that there are gangs or students who consider themselves to be part of a gang in their schools. The differences between public and private schools are stark. While 46 percent of students in public schools reported the presence of gangs and gang members at school, only 2 percent of private school students did. According to the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (2007), 23 percent of students reported the presence of gangs on their school campus or in the surrounding area in 2007. This represents an increase in the percentage of students reporting gangs on/around campus in 2003 (21 percent). Schools in urban areas appear to be the most affected by the presence of gangs: 36 percent of urban students reported gangs, versus 21 percent of suburban and 16 percent of rural students in 2005. In a survey of students conducted in almost 1,300 schools nationwide (Gottfredson and Gottfredson, 2001), 7.6 percent of male respondents and 3.8 percent of female respondents at the secondary level reported that they belonged to a gang. Based on the increased number of students reporting a gang presence at school between 2001 and 2010, this number has likely increased, although no subsequent nationwide studies have been conducted. Gang members do not leave their conflicts, attitudes, and behaviors outside the school doors. Some of the most dangerous gang activities in any community may take place in and around local schools. Gang members encounter each other at school during class changes, in the lunchroom, in common areas, and during assemblies and school events. Students may loiter on or around the school campus before and after school, and conflicts may occur between rival gangs. In some instances, gang members come to school to engage in criminal behavior (drug dealing) or to confront rivals. Because of the potential for violent gang interactions at school, school staff members and administrators need to formulate a plan to deal with gang activity. This article provides an overview of action steps that schools can take to prevent, intervene in, and suppress violent gang activity, as well as crisis response plans that can be developed to address potential acts of school violence including, but not limited to, gang activity.
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