Gangs in Class

1744 Words7 Pages
Gangs in Class

Even before I arrived at the gilded gates of Dunn Middle School in South Trenton, I knew I would expect to encounter gang members, gang references and possibly even gang violence within the brick walls of this school for 6-8th graders. It is a scary thought that every prospective teacher has had cross her mind at least once in her teacher preparation program: “Will there be gang members in my school, in my classroom? What will I do? What can I do”. During my first day at my JPE site my suspicions were turned into a reality. Within my two classes I have two affirmed gang members and several students suspected of gang affiliation. Both of the affirmed members have since been removed from school due to their participation in a fight which caused serious harm to another student in the school. I can’t help but feel at once relieved that I don’t have to ‘deal’ with these students and then sad at the thought that these two bright young men may be forever lost to mainstream society. Even more, what about the remaining boys associated with gangs left in my classroom; will they come to the same fate? Here presented are an overview of youth gang membership today and some thoughts on why kids today so readily join in. As will be discussed, there is something we as administrators and educators can do when gang membership becomes a concern or problem in our schools; perhaps more importantly though, there are ways we can prevent the problem from even arising.

There are several types of gangs which prevail in modern America. There are street gangs, copycat gangs, pretend gangs, cliques and delinquent groups to name a few. Luckily, most middle school aged students involved with gang behavior are involved with the less serious forms including delinquent groups and pretend gangs. Those students who are more susceptible to joining gangs are becoming harder and harder to identify. “Memberships tend to cross ethnic lines and have more female involvement than ever before” (National 5). Previously, gangs were thought to be limited to black or Hispanic male youths in low income communities but even the socioeconomic status of gangs has changed.
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