Recent gang activity in Jamaican High Schools

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This is a qualitative descriptive study to garner firsthand knowledge about whether students and school personnel perceive an increase in violence, gangs, and gang-related activities on high school campuses in the Jamaican parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine. There were interviews of 46 high school personnel, 10 school resource officers and 12 focus groups with 10 to 12 students each in 27 schools. Participants were asked about any perceived influence of community gangs on school gangs and about their school's response to perceived school-based gang activity. The data were carefully analyzed both manually and with the aid of Atlas-ti. The findings reveal that significant changes have occurred in the corporate area high schools represented; however, the school gangs were apparently not formally related to the community gangs. Efforts to respond to school gang problems appear promising.

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