Parents Learn About Gangs

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Some local parents are learning the signs of gang activity and what to look for in their children.

Some artwork may look innocent, but parents are learning these "drawings" have a dangerous message which could be linked to gang activity.

"We don't know what to do because we don't know the language of the kids they are using, we don't know their language at all," said Lawrence Chatman, Director of Walker Ford Community Center.

Hoping to change that, organizers at the Jake Gaither Community Center put together an open forum for parents and teens, teaching them how to identify gang activity.

Anita Davis is a member of the NAACP and said, "I hope the dialogue here today that had been instituted will give us the leverage we need so we can go forth and do the things that are going to put our young people back on track."

Participants learn different clothing, symbols, and hair styles could all be linked to gangs.

Sixteen-year-old Gerald Edwards is learning the signs of gang activity and said, "The ability to decipher when I am in a situation when it might be gang environment or being able to help friends of mine that might lead to a gang environment to prevent them from going."

Experts say this dangerous activity is occurring on the streets right here in Leon County, and parents can't turn their backs to the signs anymore.

Jacqueline Edwards is a concerned mother and said, "I hear it's more prevalent and I want to know what I can look for to steer them away from gang violence".

Organizers say being informed is one of the best tools to keep your child on the path to success.

Experts say there are a few other signs to look for: an unusual desire for privacy, new friends you've never met, and failing in school.