Gang trainings scheduled at New Hanover County high schools

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Friendship, a sense of belonging, and self identity is a simple list of reasons why children join gangs and one that continues to attract them.
"There are gangs that do operate in New Hanover County and outside of New Hanover County that we deal with every day," said Detective Calvin Barnes.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office gang task force is teaching a course called Gang 101, to show parents how to spot gang-related behavior in their children.

"It's important that we educate parents and teachers and school administrators to recognize what they're looking at," said Detective Barnes.  "If it's gang related, if it might be, so they can better report it. So that law enforcement can assist in addressing the issue."

Detective Barnes showed parents specific examples of gang signs, saying some are more visible than others.  For example, if your child starts wearing certain numbers or colors, even drawing symbols on notebooks or homework assignments.

Lene Smith said her son isn't in a gang, but said she learned a lot from the course to keep him out of trouble.

According to Detective Barnes, that's the right approach.  He said two out of every three gang members say they wouldn't have joined if their parents were behind them.

New Hanover County Schools has scheduled three more Gang 101 Trainings for the 2009-2010 school year.

All trainings are scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows:

December 1, 2009 - New Hanover High School

January 25, 2010 - Laney High School

March 4, 2010 - Hoggard High School

Detective J.P. Guarino and Michelle Guarino, Gang Therapist, from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, will conduct these major trainings.

Detective Guarino will present Gang 101, and address gang identifiers, signs and symbols and ways to combat the problem. Guarino will present the psychology behind gangs: prevention, intervention and diversion.

All trainings are open to school personnel, parents and the public, and no registration is required.  Due to the law enforcement sensitive material being presented, students will not be allowed to participate.

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