Crisp Co. teachers gain valuable knowledge on gang activity - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Crisp Co. teachers gain valuable knowledge on gang activity

Teachers hear from sheriff's officials on gangs (Source: WALB) Teachers hear from sheriff's officials on gangs (Source: WALB)
Police on scene of shooting  (Source: WALB) Police on scene of shooting (Source: WALB)
Major Joey Arzola  (Source: WALB) Major Joey Arzola (Source: WALB)
Principal Mike Parker  (Source: WALB) Principal Mike Parker (Source: WALB)
Pictures showing gang participation  (Source: WALB) Pictures showing gang participation (Source: WALB)
CRISP CO., GA (WALB) -

The Sheriff's Office and the primary school are teaming up to educate teachers on gang activity.

Law enforcers said that knowledge could help teachers combat growing gang issues.

It's not often that the teachers become students, but sheriff's officials said their access to children and ability to recognize and curb gang participation could help prevent gang problems.

Major Joey Arzola said pictures on social media show the growing attraction in young children to join gangs.

Officials said gangs are leading to violence in the streets, vandalism at homes, and targeting young kids in the community.

"Most of your gang members on average go into a gang on or about 12 years old," said Major Joey Arzola with the Crisp County Sheriff's Office.

Another picture from Facebook shows a baby in gang affiliated clothing.

"What's tolerated today becomes acceptable tomorrow. So what we need to do is we can't tolerate now. If we see something right there, we need to stop it right then and there," said Major Arzola.

Law enforcers are heading to schools to stop it.

They held a session informing teachers of things to look for—like symbols on bookbags or paper.

"If a teacher does see the signs of that right there, what can we do to help prevent that child from going down that wrong path right there," said Major Arzola.

The first step is contacting law enforcement.

Major Arzola said students in second and third grade are heavily influenced by older family members and may think this lifestyle is all there is for them.

The class fits right in to the school's mission of protecting and loving their children.

"As we pick up on those triggers and indicators, we'll be able to discern what kids may be targeted and intervene on their behalf in a loving way," said Crisp County Primary principal Mike Parker.

It’s a loving way that could save lives.

Major Arzola hopes other schools and agencies hold similar classes. He said gangs are an epidemic that must be confronted.

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