Since there is every reason to anticipate that gangs, school disorder, and teaching quality are closely linked, this research examined this issue using a large probability sample of secondary schools surveyed in 1998, merged with U.S. census data on community characteristics.
Schools that require the most help are often those that have difficulty staffing qualified teachers. Data suggest that many teachers who leave their schools or the profession cite student misbehavior and an unsafe work environment as reasons; however, public attention is not currently focused on problems of gang delinquency in schools, focusing instead on educational funding, teacher quality, and achievement levels. The current study's multilevel models imply that community demographic influences on individual gang involvement (GI) are largely mediated by school and personal variables. School safety and students' personal sense of safety emerged as important variables that predicted GI. (Publisher abstract modified)