LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - The school's resource officer says two gangs have been identified in the county and gang graffiti painted on the sides of several businesses this week raised a red flag.
School officials say they try to talk with students before they get too far into a gang, but peer pressure is tough to overcome.
The notebook found inside a Lee County Middle School locker seems innocent enough. School resource officer Sgt. Jason Anthony says it's anything but.
"The book of knowledge belongs to the 'Folk' gang and let him know, I knew what it was, and he admitted he was a member of the Folk gang," said School Resource Officer Sgt. Jason Anthony.
He believes a high school student is also responsible for the gang graffiti sprayed on the side of Moma's pizza earlier this week. Anthony says the pressure on students to join a gang can be hard to resist.
"The peer pressure is what we have to fight," said Anthony. "If we can get to these kids and give them some sort of positive image, some kind of positive feedback in talking with these kids and help them to fight the peer pressure themselves then we can succeed."
"It's a strong pull for kids that don't have a lot on their own or have a hard time making it without that protection," said Lee County High School Principal Kevin Dowling.
That's why the school is more conscious of what's happening in its hallways, fights between groups of kids, and what's written on students notebooks. They say parents have to be on the lookout too.
"Simple little drawings, just little things that look innocent are not and that's something with a little bit of training and education you can be on the look out for," said Dowling.
With the recent activity in Dougherty and Lee Counties they suggest parents go through their kids rooms, looking for anything they feel might be gang related and if they've got questions they can get police involved before the student becomes involved in something they shouldn't.
Sgt. Anthony says gangs are also recruiting students younger than high school, who are typically too naive to know better when it comes to petty crimes and might be more willing to take a chance because they're not at risk for being charged as an adult.