Gangs in Schools: How to Combat Them


THE formation of gangs is a common problem nowadays, especially to some public schools.

Gangs are active in large cities of the country and sometimes due to pressures from the police and other rivals, some are spreading to the smaller cities or towns in the countryside where they shifted their illegal operations.

Usually, teens from a bad home life or with psychological problems join in gangs to solve their issues with peers as well as with their families. These reasons of gang memberships turn gangs to become violence. Furthermore, the reasons for gang violence can be traced in the childhoods of the gang members committing the crimes or in their family.

A study showed that 50 percent of men who are abusive toward their spouses end up being abusive to their children as well. Hence, teens who have grown up in a violent home or family are often much more violent than teens who have not.

Other reasons for gang violence are the use and sale of drugs, alcoholic drinks, gang’ rivalries, fights among members of the same gang or of the other gangs.

To be accepted into the gang, teens often have to commit some sort of crime or go through hazing. Hazing is usually considered forcing a new member of a group, such as a fraternity, sorority, or a gang, to perform an embarrassing or illegal act to be accepted into the group.

Hazing often occurs in high schools and colleges. Some hazing rituals involve harassing members of other gangs. This gang related hazing in high school and college may result to retaliations and eventually to gang violence in schools and in community.

To combat gang formation, schools should know the reasons for why gangs form and attract the students. Interventions must be done to address this gang formation and the probability of expanding gang memberships and territories. Target students vulnerable to gang recruitment shall be identified and subject for mentoring and conflict resolution programs.

Values education curriculum should be strengthened to establish good moral and ethical standards among students. Schools should offer programs or integrate in the curriculum about gangs, their destructiveness and on how to avoid them. Teaching and non-teaching staff should be trained or educated to know how gangs develop and on how to stop them.

As much as possible, schools should include in their policy manual or student handbook the banning of anything related to gang membership, such as, weapons, gang-identified clothing, and gang signs or symbols. Schools must assess gang problems and implement strategies to prevent gang-joining.

School security personnel must be aware of any gang formations and activities and may conduct random “on the spot” searching of suspected gang member students or their lockers.

Schools should develop programs to reduce behavior problem and violence in school. This program should be designed to kids who are at the greatest risk of joining gangs, such as, kids who have dropped out of school or are not fully engaged in school, kids who do not have a good home life and feel unaccepted, or kids who want to have a family, or kids pressured by their peers to join in a gang.

In the United States, anti-gang formation programs reduced the number of kids who get involved with gangs.

Finally, the family plays important role in gang formation and dissolution. Schools should offer programs for parents on gang formation and on how to deal with it. Schools should conduct regular monitoring of their students and of youths who are not enrolled in school but are always in the vicinity of the school.

The move of the Iloilo City Government to strictly implement curfew for minors is another kind of intervention to minimize gangs’ untoward activities at night.

Although these interventions have no magical solution for eliminating gangs, they may make gangs appear less attractive and prepare individual students resist gang pressure to join with them.

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