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Lesson Plans


Gang related Art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Robert Sheffey (sheffey)
Thu, 29 May 1997 16:11:55 -0600 (MDT)


I worked for awhile in an alternative school in Illinois, and the first
inservice they held was on gang symbols. We were told not to let them write
these things: 5 pointed stars, eight balls, certain color combinations, etc.
As an art teacher I had a hard time with the whole thing. I tried to talk to
the kids about gang symbols. We talked about "symbols in art and throughout
history" and how they were used by cultures. I tried to get them to see that
symbols are somehow part of who we are and can express greater meaning. I
also talked about how they can seperate and label us also. I used Dr.
Seuss's book about the starbellies as an example.
I always felt that the administration were being ignorant in just trying to
disallow any of it. But one day, a student in another class wrote certain
numbers on the board with pitchforks pointing down, and 5 minutes later, a
large gang fight broke out. The kids just broke up into two groups and all
hell broke loose.
So there is a reality to this use of symbols to identify different gang members.
Now I have moved to El Paso and there are different gangs here, lots of
tagging.The school that I am going to be working for has put out a dress
code to the students....they cannot wear baggy pants, sports shirts, buckles
with initials, or use old english calligraphy. I know when I begin to teach
in July, I am going to encounter gang symbols in the art room.
I would be interested in all opinions on how to deal with this. I believe
that this is bringing more censorship in the schools (no baggy pants?). I do
not like to censor my students work .
What is the opinion of the other art teachers being confronted with this issue?
Teresa Sheffey

  • Maybe reply: Lorena Nalin: "Re: Gang related Art"