Friday, December 15, 2017

The Gang Mentality and Public Education

Thursday, August 1, 2013, 20:54
This news item was posted in Education category.
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Gang violence is a real problem in public education, as the American society has substituted “rights,” particularly “civil rights” for “righteousness.” This is not right, although it is politically correct! Gangs almost always develop along racial bonds, and many gangs use the excuse of having suffered discrimination against their civil rights as an avenue for participating in their anti-social behavior!

It is very much possible, however, for people to have the gang mentality without actually being part of an organized gang. Gang members cross all socio-economic backgrounds and boundaries regardless of age, gender, race, economic status, and academic achievement (National School Safety and Security Services, 2011).

People can gravitate toward positive characteristics or negative ones.  But gang violence has exploded in our society particularly since our government and our public educational structure have sought to eliminate religious influences from public education. In this context gangs play a significant role in the widespread increase of violence in schools, while school violence has steadily intensified and school-aged children are at a higher risk of suffering from violence in school than anywhere else.

There are many methods used by anti-Christian educational leaders in the United States to remove any semblance of God and Christianity from America’s public schools. Things once basic in our land, even innate in our heritage, are being eliminated from history books, as they are being replaced with signs of godless, secular humanism.  This change has become a breeding ground for gang development. New textbooks contain very little information about America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

In one American history book there were six lines written about George Washington. But the same textbook had over six pages written about actress Marilyn Monroe.  In the same vein there is now standing in downtown Palm Springs, Florida, a twenty-six-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe statue, known as “Forever Marilyn,” to mark the 50th anniversary of her death from an overdose of drugs.  What an example to set before our children!

We are removing the Ten Commandments from all public display, removing the Bible from even motels, condemning prayer in any public meetings, forbidding military chaplains from praying in the name of the Lord Jesus, and many other things.  In the schools the students cannot have prayer, have Bible-reading, wear Christian symbols (cross and crucifix), have Christmas activities (nativity and carols), have Christian clubs (Bible clubs), or even have free speech when it is about Christianity. But gang members still often can wear their gang symbols and display the tattoos of their gang!

The definition of gangs may vary, but gangs are organized groups, and they are often actively involved in drug and weapons trafficking. Without question their mere presence in school can increase tensions there. It can also increase the level of violence in schools, even though gang members themselves may not be directly responsible for all of it; both gang members and non-gang members are arming themselves with increased frequency. Students in schools with a gang presence are twice as likely to report that they fear becoming victims of violence than their peers at schools without gangs.

In the Tampa Bay Times “Getting inside the gang mentality”, May 10, 2010, Jim Paterson notes that Kara Ieva, an American Counseling Association member and assistant professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, who has researched, written, and spoken widely on gangs says that:  “Since the nineties, the numbers (of gang members) have more than doubled.”

Getting inside the gang mentality, gangs are steadily moving into suburban and rural areas, she says, because they believe law enforcement is less sophisticated there and these areas also offer gangs plenty of prospects for new recruits.  The growth of gangs and the gang mentality pose a major problem for public education.

According to the U.S. Justice Department National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC), the number of gang members increased by 200,000 from 2005 to late 2008; it now estimates there are more than 1 million gang members in America.

Researchers agree most gangs share certain characteristics. Although there are exceptions, gangs tend to develop along racial and ethnic lines, and are typically ninety percent male.  African American gangs tend to confine their activities to their own communities.  In contrast, Asian gangs often travel hundreds of miles from home in order to conduct their activities.  Anglo gangs are often made up of white supremacists. Gangs can also vary tremendously in numbers and age ranges of members. (Gangs in Schools — Gary Burnet–Bodinger-deUriarte, 1993).

Much has been published about Trayvon Martin being killed.  But I can postulate he definitely had a gang mentality, if not being a gang member.  He had been suspended from school for drug use, petty theft, and vandalism. He was under his third disciplinary suspension of the year at the time of his death.  He certainly at least had a lot of signs of gang mentality and much of this was revealed in his school behavior. It has been noted that: “Wannabes and look-alikes: Sometimes, students who pose as gang members really aren’t”.  (Jim Paterson, May 10, 2010).

Martin was almost 6’2″ tall and weighed 175 muscular pounds. As well, he had observable tattoos as seen in his photo at age seventeen, with each hand marked with large tattoos, which is one marking of gang membership, plus tattoos on his face and neck. On his cell phone they found pictures of, among other things, a clump of jewelry on a bed, underage nude females, marijuana plants, and a hand menacingly holding a semiautomatic pistol.  From all appearances he was a drug-dealing, violent, gold-teethed, tattooed thug, who even brought his cache of jewelry and burglary tools to school and told the authorities at school he had just found it all on the way to school. If he was not a gang member he certainly had a gang mentality!

WND.com published an article on July 15, 2013 entitled, ”NAACP admits: Trayvon’s past ‘shaky” and showed how “Twitter, Facebook, and toxicology tests have established Trayvon’s long and enthusiastic acquaintance with marijuana and codeine”.

Jack Cashill from the American Thinker brought out that: “Trayvon, in fact, had become a devotee of the druggy concoction known as “Lean,” also known in southern hip-hop culture as “Sizzurp” and “Purple Drank.” Lean consists of three basic ingredients – codeine, a soft drink, and candy.  If his Facebook postings are to be believed, Trayvon had been using Lean since at least June 2011.”

Trayvon had had numerous conflicts with authorities (both at school and with local police).  He had been stopped and almost arrested two days before his death for smacking a bus driver in the face, because the driver refused to let him ride for free. One of his suspensions from school was that he tried to bring marijuana with him to school.

Although even the President of our nation said if he had a son, he would have liked him to be just like Trayvon, I don’t think he is a great example, even as I didn’t applaud the statue of Marilyn Monroe.  It is not racism to reject such a person, and it is not racism to look disdainfully on people who wear tee shirts with a twelve-year-old Trayvon Martin’s picture on them as some people are doing.

Many progressives are complaining about what they call “racism”.  But what is “racism”?  Better than ninety percent of the blacks in America have some other racial genetic background than Negro, and, in fact, our president is fifty percent white or Caucasian.  We need to get beyond this obsession with what might or might not be racism.  What matters is how you act and perform—nothing to do with race.  We need to see people as people, not as races.  Gang violence is a threat, even the gang mentality, whether it is from the Hispanic, the African-American, the American Indian, the Asian/Pacific islander, or the White.

In concluding this article, we can observe something said by Erick Erickson who wrote: “From my vantage point, the best dialogue to transcend the divide is that of the saving Gospel that heals all wounds. Much of the societal decay we have now stems from decades of government trying and failing to feed the body with liberals trying and failing to feed the soul. There is, however, only one lasting food the soul can truly digest and only God can provide it. We will continue to have these problems unless evangelical, Bible believing churches start building lasting relationships across racial lines in their own communities. There won’t be uniform doctrine, but there is one Jesus who churches can share — the Jesus who is, not the Jesus some create.”  (The Red State, “May Not Be Racist, But America Is”—Erick Erickson, July 17, 2013)

Erickson gives the best way to address the problem of the gang mentality that is an increasing problem in public education!

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by Joe Renfro, Ed.D., Educational Columnist, Radio Evangelist, Retired Teacher and Pastor, 5931 West Avenue, Lavonia, Georgia 30553,  706-356-4173, joerenfro@windstream.net

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