The “mini-riot” causedÂ by two street gangs fighting in Nyack on April 16 has had some positive results.
Nyack School District hierarchyÂ – ie Superintendent Valencia Douglas – has been talking to Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty and his brass about gangs on the streets and in schools, along with other issues in Nyack. Clarkstown police cover the high school and elementary schools, and South Nyack-Grand ViewÂ police cover the middle school.
A Spring Valley gang came to Nyack after a girl’s red bandanna was yanked from her neck at Nyack High School. The girl’s boyfriend apparently was a gang leader in Spring Valley.
And the fighting got Nyack officials talking about recreation for young people – an issue thrown on the backburner in favor of strategies to promote tourism and finding parking in the village.
On Thursday night, the issue of criminal street gangs drew 40 adults and young people to the Nyack Center. They were shown by police experts how to identify gang signs andÂ signs children have gang ties, including dress, jewelry and speech. They include anger management and resolving conflicts.
Sheriff Detective James Behrens, a gangs expert assigned to the Rockland Intelligence Center. He demonstrated the difference between groups and gangs as the element of illegal activity. He showed how young people get involved in gangs for reasons of personal safety, caring, financial gain.
Audience members were told that children as young as 10 years old are recruited for gangs and gangsÂ exist in Rockland County.Â The Rockland gangs include the Bloods and the Crips, rivals, along with theÂ Latin Kings, or affiliates. There are the MS-13, an El Salvadoran gang, alogn with other ethic gangs.
James Williams, who is with Creative Response to Conflict, led parents and community members in a discusion of how we keep our children out of gangs.
One parent shared their own story of her son’s involvement in gangs, saying he was the one child she would never have picked to be involved in gangs. She called him a B student, well liked by everyone.
Williams talked about how her belief in her child was what made it possible for him to get out of the gang. Listening and connecting to our children is what we need to do, Williams said, adding, We can never give up on our children.”
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