Visalia seeks solutions to gang activity
February 13, 2023
More than 100 youth-centered community leaders and families came together Jan. 26 to engage in a discussion on how they might develop proactive actions to curb gang activity in Visalia and surrounding communities.
During the pandemic, gang activity decreased to historic lows, most of which was attributed to community isolation measures. As the community began to open up, so did the rise in gang activity.
The meeting was held at Riverway Elementary School and included opening remarks from Superintendent Kirk Shrum, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar and Tulare County District 4 Supervisor Eddie Valero. Each spoke about the need for communities to work together.
The participants had an opportunity to collaborate with one another and share best practices. From these collaborative conversations, next steps and an inventory of services were gathered.
“The school district alone cannot stop gang activity. We must work together, as a community, to empower families and students to make the right choices,” stated Superintendent Shrum.
Visalia Unified’s Board of Education has declared the need to develop a systematic framework to ensure each student has access to meaningful activities and/or mentorships outside of the instructional day. Research from the Centers for Disease Control cites that when students are engaged in positive activities or mentorships outside of the classroom, students are less likely to engage in negative behaviors.
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