Magazine article Techniques

Coming to Grips with Gangs

Magazine article Techniques

Coming to Grips with Gangs

Article excerpt

Last July, just a few miles away from AVA's headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, members of two local gangs clashed in front of a middle school. As students poured out of their summer school classes, they witnessed a 16-year-old being stabbed to death. Up until then, according to reports, Alexandria school administrators claimed their district did not have a gang problem.

This month's powerful cover story, "Searching for a Separate Peace" (p. 14) opens a window into youth gang activity and its effect on schools. Associate Editor Marlene Lozada visited with current and former members of Hispanic gangs in the D.C. area who are trying to turn the corner through Barrios Unidos, an anti-violence program run by a young man who nearly died in a gang-related fight. The kids tell poignant and unnerving stories about the appeal of gangs and they offer insights into what communities must do to stop the violence.

Their best advice for educators, corroborated by violence prevention experts: Do not attempt to eliminate gangs. …

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