COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 90
May 23, 1997

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM:
 
Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:
 
Report of the Virginia State Crime Commission and the Virginia Commission
on Youth, "The Study of Youth Gangs in Virginia" (House Document No. 30, 1997

 
  The Superintendents-Judges Liaison Committee received a
  report on "The Study of Youth Gangs in Virginia" at their
  April 23, 1997,  meeting at the Virginia Association of
  School Superintendents Conference.  This study was conducted
  in response to a request by the 1996 General Assembly.  The
  superintendents unanimously recommended that each
  superintendent receive a copy of the report as the
  information gathered about youths involved in gangs is
  important to all superintendents.  The study, which involved
  statewide data collection from law enforcement and the
  juvenile courts, found approximately 260 youth gangs in 32
  localities -- a 220% increase in the number of localities. 
  The report identifies localities with youth gangs/groups,
  demographic information about gang members, characteristics
  of gangs and criminal gang activities.  Many of the findings
  offer pertinent information about the youths' education. 
  For example:

       27% of gang/group members identified in secure
       detention centers had dropped out of school or were
       expelled;

       60% of gang/group members identified at juvenile
       correctional centers were in need of special education
       services.

  Kim Echelberger, Analyst with the Virginia Commission on
  Youth, can provide further demographic information on the
  gangs/groups from specific localities.  Ms. Echelberger can
  be contacted at (804)371-2481.

  Additional copies of the report can be obtained by
  contacting the General Assembly Bill Room (804/786-6984) or
  from the Department of Education's School Safety Resource
  Center.  Marsha Hubbard, School Safety Specialist, (804/225-2928)
  can be contacted for further information about school
  safety and violence prevention.  For further information
  regarding the Superintendents-Judges Liaison Committee,
  please contact Dr. Lissa Power-deFur at the Department of
  Education (804/225-2818).


  RTL:oml

  Enclosure:   A hard copy of this memo and its enclosure
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.