Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 10:41 am | Fair 71º


Grand Jury Issues Anti-Gang Recommendations for Schools

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury recently issued a report on citywide efforts to prevent and intervene in the escalation of gang-related violence facing the community.

The report cited several recommendations to the Santa Barbara School District, including strengthening the parenting skills of parents with at-risk students, creation of safety zones beyond school campuses, more after-school programs, increased staff training for youth violence monitoring, establishment of tip lines and maintenance of anti-drug programs in schools.

Ongoing anti-gang efforts include support of district-sponsored parent education programs (Parent Project) as well as the parent education programs of community partners (Family Services Agency and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse); hiring two youth outreach workers whose sole focus is prevention and intervention services for gang members and high-risk students and their families; increased support for after-school activities sponsored by our city and community partners; establishment of tip lines at each of our high schools that permit anonymous reporting of potential problems; and continued institutional support for Fighting Back’s youth service specialists.

Additionally, as a preventive measure, the district has eliminated early release days in secondary schools (with the exception of the last day of school, June 4). The district’s experience and all relevant research shows that the best way to combat gang violence in schools is by building and maintaining caring, positive, healthy relationships with students.

Barbara Keyani is administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara School District.

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