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Gangs in School: Exploring the Experiences of Gang-Involved Youth

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: 2019 Pages: 3-23
Date Published
21 pages
This study of the experiences of gang-involved youth addressed three questions: (1) What are the criteria that current or formerly gang-involved youth use to identify the presence of gangs in school? (2) Do gang activities produce incivilities and victimizations within the school context? and (3) What is the impact of a gang presence on youth in the school, specifically with respect to the presence or absence of fear?

These issues were examined through qualitative analysis of 180 in-depth semi-structured interviews. The sample included youth with varying levels of gang involvement who attended schools across the United States. Youth relied on personal knowledge and visual cues to identify gangs in their schools. Despite the occurrence of vicarious victimizations and incivilities from gang youth, respondents indicated that gangs did not impact their school life. These youth frequently used normalization and delimitation processes to deal with gangs in their school. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019