Sometimes I wonder if people forget that gang culture can touch any child anywhere. Every child and young person in UK is at risk of gangs. Yes, even your child is at risk of being exposed to gangs.
It doesn’t matter how good your school is, how nice your house is or how high up your job is…every child and young person is at risk.
Now, some people reading this may be thinking that actually I am wrong. That their child is not affected by gang culture thank you very much. Well I guess that would depend on what you view as directly affected I guess.
Just because your child is not walking around with a bandana wrapped around their face or or listening to what ever music has been deemed to “create” gang members does not mean that are not your child is not being exposed to this.
The murders that have been happening across London have been devastating. Some may be gang related, some may not. Its fair to say that the media leads us to believe that many of the young people involved are part of a gang culture.
I am also sure, in fact I have heard people say with my own ears, that they are shocked by the murders but don’t think it could happen where they live. They don’t think that their children could be involved in something like this, That the children and young people they may work with or in the community would not go “That far”.
See me, I don’t see it like that. I am very aware that, as I keep saying, all children and young people are ta risk. There is no difference between a inner city young person and a young person from a costal community going out and stabbing someone.
And here is a question to ponda. Can people really think that there is no gang culture/members in select schools or grammar schools? Can some professionals actually believe that there are not children involved in gangs in primary schools? Now, I am hoping that most people are reading this are shaking their heads and thinking “Kendra, what madness are you chatting. Of course, we don’t believe these things”. I am also aware that there will be people reading this will be thinking otherwise.
I have worked with gang affected children for many years and I can honestly say that I have seen children and young people, from all sorts of backgrounds, pass through the doors. Yes, some people may say that there is a “Stereotypical” list of attributes when identifying a young person affected by gangs or is gang entrenched. I would argue that for every “Identified” child gang member, their will be a multitude of other children and young people also directly affected by the “identified” young person. This could be other gang members, victims, victim’s friends. This could be the kid at the back of the class who watches their peer’s day in day out and could have a deeper understanding of gang culture than most and never say a word. I am talking about young people who watch all the stuff on the media about the murders that took place and have no idea what to do with the thoughts and feelings that this has created.
I am talking about the “wall paper kids” the ones who may not stand out, don’t display behaviours that cause concern, the ones who may be affected but don’t display this in a way professional recognise.
I am talking about the young people who may attend certain schools, be exposed to gang culture but no support is put in place because the school does not want to admit they have a gang issue.
See what, I believe that any person of able body and mind is capable of picking up a weapon and using it. I also believe that certain things may happen in a young person’s life that then leads them to actually carrying this out. I refuse to accept that a young person is immune to this due to where they go to school or live. Yes, it may be true that the risk factors of gangs is reduced, when a child or young person lives a certain lifestyle, but ultimately a grammar school student could walk home from school and become affected directly by gang culture.
What we can do is educate EVERY child about gangs, gangs culture and how to keep safe. What to do. Who to tell. Let’s ensure that every young person is equally exposed to the concept of gang culture. Not just Theo’s in deprived areas. Not those in inner city schools. Not those who “Display” behaviours associated with gangs. Every single child and young person in the UK. And adults…but that’s a rant for another day