Operation Gang Up

Warning Signs

Gang awareness presentation will be held Thursday at King’s College:
Teacher alert to gang signs

April 19, 2012

By Ed Lewis (Times Leader Staff Writer)

Teachers are at the forefront of recognizing warning signs of gang activity among children, experts say, as teachers will become the students at a gang awareness presentation at King’s College on Thursday.

The presentation is sponsored by state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton.

D. Darell Dones, supervisory special agent of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, will be the featured speaker.

“Teachers need to look at the drawings on their students’ books and on their tablets,” said Robert Maguire, chairman of the Lackawanna County Gang Task Force. “A lot of these kids doodle on their books and their drawings will say a lot.”

Old Forge Police Chief Larry Semenza said social media, music and televisions shows that feature gangs are a big influence on children.

“The rap industry is a big promoter of the gang lifestyle and so is ‘Gangland’ on TV,” Semenza said. “With this social media, these kids can access rap music and shows any time.” -

Maguire, Semenza and other panelists at Thursday’s event will likely provide a quick reference on what to recognize.

Some other tips are:
• Certain colors a student wears.
• Using hand signals to communicate with friends.
• Has unexplained cash, clothing or jewelry.
• Exhibiting negative changes in behavior.
• Displaying a desire for secrecy from family.

The presentation at 6 p.m. is free and open to the public.



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