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Lesson Plans

RE: Gangs and Junior High Kids

From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti)
Date: Mon May 29 2000 - 20:47:09 PDT

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    > Their "family" (gang) comes first. A lot of my students have been
    > arrested (several times) for armed robbery, car theft and prostitution.
    > Their age? 13-15. They're back in school the next day.
    > The gang leader knows this and exploits these young kids to the hilt.

    The Institute for Global Ethics refers to a "moral (or ethical) perimeter".
    This is a potent concept. For example, it is not the case that these kids
    don't have respect for others, or a sense of honesty and truth. The fact is
    that they do, but that it only refers to those within their group, however
    that is defined - gang, family, hood. But there is a defined perimeter to
    demarcate those to whom their ethics apply and those to whom they don't.

    One important goal of working with teenagers "at risk" (which we all are, so
    long as we let others do our thinking and reasoning for us) is to help them
    to enlarge this perimeter to include more and more people. This is not
    easy; the greater the perimeter, the more potential risk for these kids,
    especially when it is all tied in with trust, security, fear, survival. The
    first step is to get yourself inside their perimeter. If you can't get in,
    they can't hear you. And why should they? As long as you're on the
    outside, you're one of "them", not one of "us".



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