Gang Violence

Tips To Avoid Gangs and Drugs

There are things you can do about crime and violence in your school. Here are eight things you and your friends can do to be safe and have a successful school year:

  1. Talk and watch carefully. Travel with a group or with friends to and from school and school activities. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Accept responsibility. Do your part to make your school safe by following all school rules, including behavior codes, dress codes, and safety rules.
  3. Never carry a weapon of any kind to school. The risk of harm to yourself and your classmates is too great. Any instrument used to attack another person can be considered a weapon, but firearms pose the greatest risk, multiplying the potential for serious injury and death.
  4. Do not join gangs, hang out with gang members, wear gang colors or gang-type clothing, or use gang symbols or hand signs. This is a problem of image. If you look like a gang member or are seen with a gang member, rival gangs cannot tell the difference between you and the real gang member. You have a very good chance of being the innocent target of violent gang behavior.
  5. Encourage your parents to become involved in your school by asking them to visit the school, meet your teachers and other school staff, and help with school activities. Take all school handouts, notices, and publications home to keep your parents informed of opportunities to be involved.
  6. Report to your parents and school authorities incidents of crime and violence such as weapons at school, theft, attacks on people or property, and any kind of bullying or harassment. Telling is not tattling--it is one of the most effective ways to reduce crime and violence on your campus and in the community.
  7. Work with your classmates to develop a school survey of student attitudes about drugs, crime, violence, and fear. Find out where and when crime, violence, or intimidation usually occur on your campus.
  8. Report your findings to the school administrators. Work with school staff, your parents, and other students to develop and put into practice at your school the following programs, if your school does not already have them:
    • A conflict mediation program designed to help students settle disputes and to diffuse potential fight situations.
    • A student-initiated program that empowers students to take positive action to prevent school violence.
    • A Crime Stoppers program for reporting campus crime. Call 800-245-0009 for more information.
    • A peer assistance program to help teach students how to be good peer helpers and to help welcome and integrate new students into the student body.
    • An overall school safety plan that includes behavior codes that are publicized widely to students and parents.
    • A WeTip program, which is a national, toll-free hotline (800-78-CRIME; 800-782-7463) that receives information regarding gang violence or any major crime.

Read this excellent article on gangs, produced by the United States Department of Justice, on the ClassBrain web site.

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