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Workshops to Target Signs of Gang Ties

Have you spotted a Brillo pad in your child’s bedroom? Does your child wear baggy pants or perhaps a professional baseball cap with some letters blocked out? Has your child been making suspicious doodles in his or her notebook, or taken to carrying around a backpack full of spray paint cans?

If so, your child may be a gang member, a substance abuser or a tagger.

On Monday, the Ventura Police Department and the Ventura Unified School District will hold a Parent Awareness and Education Workshop at Buena High School.

The meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. is intended to educate parents about gangs, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and community resources available to deal with such problems. Similar workshops will be held March 10 at Ventura High School and April 21 at De Anza Middle School.

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“Parents are often naive, or don’t want to believe their kids are involved,” said Ventura Police Officer John Castellanos, who is helping to organize the workshops. “This is to educate them and make them more aware.”

Professionals from the Ventura Police Department, the district attorney’s office, Anacapa Hospital in Port Hueneme and the Ventura Unified School District will provide advice and suggestions for parents on how to steer their children clear of delinquent behavior.

The evening will begin with a slide show about gang violence--taken from actual crime scenes. Sgt. Ken Corney of the Special Enforcement Team will speak about gang graffiti, tagging and “piecing” (as in creating a so-called masterpiece of art).

Parents will also have a chance to see slides of common drugs and related paraphernalia, such as Brillo pads for methamphetamine use.

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“Just because your kid wears baggy clothes doesn’t mean your kid is a gang member,” Castellanos says. But it’s good to know what to look for, he adds.


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