Saturday, January 27, 2007

Overall plan urged to reclaim streets

School role key, LAUSD board told

BY NAUSH BOGHOSSIAN, Staff Writer LA Daily News

01/23/2007 - The Los Angeles Unified School District board received a briefing Tuesday on a new report that calls for a Marshall Plan-like solution to end gang violence in Los Angeles.

The report from Connie Rice, a civil-rights attorney who chairs the district's bond oversight committee, has already been presented to a city gang committee and will go to the full City Council.

Rice said school district involvement in a cohesive strategy - akin to the comprehensive Marshall Plan in which moribund economies of post-World War II Europe were rebuilt - is key to helping solve a problem that costs taxpayers and victims more than $2 billion a year.

After failures in anti-gang efforts that failed to stop a sixfold increase in gangs in 30 years, the answer lies in addressing conditions that spawn gang activity, Rice said. The goal, she said, is to make law enforcement the last rather than the only resort.

"Suppression and law enforcement are critical, but alone you can't do this. Your schools are central to any solution," she said.

The LAUSD could keep its schools open after classes as community centers and safe havens for students, Rice said.

She cited a study that revealed that post-traumatic stress disorder levels among LAUSD students were as high as those of students in Baghdad after the U.S. invasion.

School board member Mike Lansing said he looked forward to playing a major part in a plan, but suppressing gang activity requires more than just keeping doors open after school.

"We have to do more than keep them busy and satisfied. ... We must as a city develop teen centers and comprehensive teen programs," he said.

Board member Julie Korenstein said job training will be crucial in giving students alternatives to gangs.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said the LAUSD's involvement is critical.

District Superintendent David Brewer said a major collaborative effort is needed among agencies.

"It's going to be a massive effort, and it's going to take a lot of detail - down to the hour, down to the minute," he said.

1 comment:

Linda Slater said...

See LA Times front page story on Feb. 8, 2007 on Mayor Villaraigosa's announcement naming Los Angeles' 11 worst gangs and note Linda Slater's open letter to the Mayor on http://latimes.com/schoolme blog