Schools, Law Officials Join in Anti-Gang Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Badgley, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

D.C. public school security officials met with law enforcement agents and other metropolitan-area school employees yesterday to come up with means for combating a rising tide of youth gang activity.

After several recent shootings that police in the District and surrounding counties say they believe are tied to gangs, the groups are trying to prevent more youth violence from entering D.C. and other local school systems. "The first hurdle we've got to come over is the past eight weeks of youth violence and crime," said Theodore Tuckson, acting director of security for D.C. public schools.

"We're going in with a different mind-set this school year," he said. "We'll be very vigilant."

Authorities say they have identified about 250 gangs and that in many instances the members are enrolled in public schools. Because of the surge in gang activity of late, especially in Northwest and Southeast, the participants in the round-table discussion said they would continue to meet once a month to develop strategies for countering violence.

Raul Archer, a member of D.C. Metropolitan Police's Youth Gang Task Force, spotlighted "skip parties," in which students will miss school to have parties at someone's home, as a recruitment tool that has proven successful for gangs.

"At these skip parties, you can have drugs, alcohol. We've had girls who have gotten raped, and there are gang initiations," he said. …