Gang

Prevention in Schools

Creating a Safe Haven

Katherine De Vito, DSW, LCSW 

Graffiti shown on the wall of the Jose Ramon Montoya school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, which represents MS-13 and 18 other neighborhood gangs. Source: AP Photo/Esteban Felix, Albuquerque Journal

G

Glamour: 

Young people might be attracted to the flashy lifestyle. 

A

Attachment Missing:

Young people look for a sense of belonging. 

N

No Other Option: Young people may feel that joining a gang is their only choice.

G

Gang-involved Family &  Friends: 

Can heavily sway a decision to join.

S

Safety and Security:

Young people  may join a gang for protection. 

A community mourns a young man killed in gang violence. 

Source: East Coast Gang Investigators Association 

His mother did not want anything gang-related at her son's memorial, sending the strong message that senseless gang violence needs to stop.  

Source: Chris LaChall/Courier Post

       Special Agent Torres recounts the young man's story to students during a Gang Awareness presentation.        

Lt. Torres Gang Gang Awareness - Lt. Torres
00:0000:00

P

R

E

V

E

N

T

I

O

N

What can school staff do? 

School staff can provide attachment, hope, opportunities, and consistency. Schools can be a safe haven for young people in a threatening world. 

"[Prevention] is like a seed of hope...what would give hope is opportunities...consistency...with people...I think would have definitely...changed my life." - "Josue" Former gang member

Source: COLETTE MILLER ANGEL WINGS MURAL by Elvert Barnes Photography

The following pictures depict elements of gang prevention.