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Preventing Gang Violence in Schools

By: SafeYouth

In the bulletin Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools (1998), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recommends the following approaches to dealing with gangs in schools:

  • Establishing ongoing professional development and inservice training programs for all school employees, including training techniques in classroom management and in dealing with cultural diversity, disruptive students and parents, and campus intruders.
  • Conducting leadership training classes to assist students in developing insight and skills that enable them to work harmoniously with diverse individuals and groups.
  • Offering classes incorporating curriculums on life skills and resistance to peer pressure, values clarification, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Implementing dress codes designed to eliminate gang colors and clothing, publicizing the codes at school, and distributing them to all students and parents.
  • Adopting school uniforms-particularly for elementary and middle school students – sometimes optional and sometimes mandated. Financial assistance should be available to parents who cannot afford uniforms.
  • Reducing the length of time between classes to discourage loitering.
  • Establishing partnership academies, schools-within-schools, alternative schools, beacon schools, in-school suspension programs, and school-to-work programs in collaboration with colleges and businesses in order to relocate and continue educating students with histories of classroom disruption, lack of motivation, and gang membership.
  • Implementing victim/offender programs requiring juvenile offenders to make restitution to victims for damage or loss incurred or to perform community service.
  • Creating a climate of ownership and school pride by including students, parents, teachers, and community leaders in the safe-school planning process.
  • Staging regular campus-wide graffiti and vandalism cleanup campaigns and cleanup rallies in response to specific incidents of defacement and destruction.
  • Organizing crisis intervention teams to counsel students coping with troubling violence in and near school.
  • Offering students, especially juvenile gang members, special outreach and after school programs as an alternative to gang membership.

For more information, see:

Youth Gang Programs and Strategies (2000) - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice