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Averting gang violence heads community forum

June 24, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A community forum sponsored by the Gang Violence Suppression Project will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Calexico's Neighborhood House, 506 4th St.

Attendees will try to develop solutions to gang related problems such as graffiti, truancy and violence.

To help boost attendance, prizes will be raffled.

More than 40 people attended the last community forum on May 23.

After splitting into focus groups, the attendees came up with a slew of potential fixes, according to suppression project training manager Nanette Conway of the Imperial County Office of Education.

Most of the four groups stressed preventative measures. They believe giving Calexico's kids more structured activities could help keep them out of gangs.


Those groups said suppression project team members should ask the Boys and Girls Club of America to set up a center in Calexico. Others said the Calexico Unified School District should take a lead role by providing more after-school and recreational opportunities.

One group, the third group, according to the transcribed minutes of the forum, endorsed some reactive fixes. They said parents should be penalized if their children do not attend mandatory school functions. The same group also recommended using school district or suppression project staffers to visit the homes of Calexico's troubled youth.

The fourth group thought it was best to ask the youth of Calexico where they think a youth center should be built. It also said school principals, teachers and police officers should be asked to motivate and communicate with Calexico's youth in a more positive manner.

The Gang Violence Suppression Project is funded through the governor's Office of Criminal Justice Planning. The lead agency is the county Office of Education. Collaborating agencies include Calexico Neighborhood House, the Calexico Police Department, county Probation Office and the District Attorney's Office.

The Calexico Unified School District is an unfunded project partner but an integral participant, according to Conway.

In recent months, the project has coordinated truancy sweeps in Calexico and other activities in addition to the forums.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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