April 16, 2007 Bainbridge -- The school's police chief says a recent attack is not the first sign they've had the gang activity is on the rise in Bainbridge. Authorities want the community to be more aware that it is a problem.
For the most part, the students you see at Bainbridge High School are typical teens. But school Police Chief Paul Gordon says under the surface, there's a rising gang problem. "There's always been a problem in Bainbridge, just not to this level."
Gordon says one of the problems is that many parents and people in the community are unaware of the issue. "You have some people you know think, well we don't have a gang problem or these kids are just wanna-bees these kids really don't know what they're doing."
"Although I'm not ignorant to the fact that gangs exist, to find out that's its local like this... I have children that I'm raising in this area and I truly don't want this type of activity to exist in this community."
Gordon says one way they keep up with gang activity is through graffiti and lately they've seen a lot of it in their school bathrooms. "We try to stay up on, as soon as we see it our janitorial staff removes it whether with cleaning products or paint."
Gordon says the schools are focusing on talking to the kids at an early age to try and fight growing gang involvement. "We are constantly in contact with our students that we suspect are participating and basically offering them peer mediation and conflict resolution through counseling at each school."
Parents can help too by getting involved in their kids lives and working closely with their schools. The biggest thing is to simply acknowledge the problem. "You can't become numb to what's going on because if you do, its only going to escalate."
Parents, school administration and police hope by working together, they can wipe out the gang problem altogether, and give this young people hope for a brighter future.
The schools aren't the only ones staying up on gang activity. Bainbridge Public Safety held a Gang Awareness Workshop to try to make the community alerted to the problem.