Local News

South View Parents Learn Lessons in School Security

Posted June 7, 1999

— A Cumberland County High School is banking on parents' help to keep students safe. Parents willwalk the hallsofSouth View High Schoolstarting next fall.

They will also help with security at football games. To be effective, they have to know what to look for.

Tuesday night, parents learned how to spot gang members. Authorities say there are more than 100 gang members in the Cumberland County area alone, and some are South View students.

Parents were shown common gang weapons, and how they are hidden and brought into schools.

"Some of these weapons I've never seen before or even thought to look at, like a kid's comb or brush. It really surprised me," says parent Theresa Cerro.

There are five active gangs at South View alone; however, authorities say they cannot stop students from joining them because the gangs are constitutionally protected.

"They can be a member of a gang if they want to be a member of a gang. But my concern is when it gets involved in criminal activity," says Det. David Dowless of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm going to check to make sure that my son doesn't have any of these materials," says parent Sheila Turner. "I'm going to check his room thoroughly, every day."

Police discussed gang symbols, colors, language and acronyms so when the parents police halls and football games, they will have a good idea of what to look for, and they can keep their own kids from joining a gang.

"You don't expect it here at South View, maybe some of the other schools but not here," says parent Attelia Harrison.

"A lot of this stuff they're not supposed to be able to get a hold of, but yet they do. I mean it's all out there, where they're getting it from needs to be determined so they can put a stop to that. They need some kind of stricter purchasing problems with this thing," says parent Mike Mauldwin.

Authorities say teens often join gangs when they are looking for the extra attention they are not getting at home.


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