Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Okla. criminal justice professor: 'Schools are frightening'

"With more than 1,000 people in Oklahoma identified as gang members," the Associated Press reports, "and some of those members as young as 8 years old, teachers and school administrators have become important players in prevention efforts, an expert said Monday.
Michael Wilds, an attorney and associate professor at Northeastern State University's Broken Arrow campus, told those attending the State Superintendent's 10th Annual Safe and Healthy Schools Conference that awareness and alternatives are keys to keeping children from going into gangs.

"Schools are frightening, and I can't say any other word to describe it. It used to be seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders were approached when it came to gangs and/or drugs," Wilds said.

"Now we're seeing gangs approaching the second- and third-graders, even in some cases -- due to grandpa and dad being in the gangs -- kindergarten. They're acutely aware of the gangs, they’re very susceptible at that age, very impressionable."

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