Gangs in Our Schools

"He had to take knives to defend himself, and screwdrivers. He had razors and he told me, 'Mom, I'm going to defend myself with them, but it's not going to be enough.' Police have not confirmed a motive for the killing, but said Chicas and several members went to a meeting at the clique leader's home in the 7000 block of Varnum Street in Landover Hills on March 8. "During the meeting, a violent attack took place where our victim was stabbed as many as 100 times," said Major Brian Reilly with the Prince George's County Police Department." These are excerpts from a news report this past Friday on NBC Washington 4. News like this one is extremely disturbing. But the news really hit home when I read "Chicas was a student at Falls Church High School". This is the school my son is scheduled to attend a year from now. And it only hurts even more when I read in the comment section of an Annandale blog the following: "I agree this is a fact of life here, unfortunately. I makes me so sad to see this scourge in our schools. And unfortunately, this is the reason I am opting for private schools for my kids."

Above copied from The Annandale Blog

Yes, we need to be thoughtful and aware of our perceptions. Perceptions are only perceptions. However, perceptions have real consequences. Research has repeatedly shown that how we perceive a school affects how that school performs. In a paper published in 2016, researchers concluded, "Our results confirm a recent study by Peguero and Bracy (2015) that found adolescent perceptions of school disorder as well as school-level disorder are aspects of a detrimental school environment and can contribute to the likelihood of dropping out of school". Worth noting is that this study also found that minority children, those who are already showing achievement gaps, were affected more. Unfortunately, research is mute on what needs to be done. Disturbing instances lead to negative perceptions. Negative perceptions lead to an undesirable school climate, which feeds more into disorder and violence. It is a downward spiral. And I am profoundly worried at this point.